THINKARTS IN MUSEUMS AND ART GALLERIES
From creating activity trails for young visitors to organising special children's day workshops, ThinkArts has been actively involved with museums in various ways since its inception.
In November 2015, ThinkArts organised special activities at the Indian Museum to celebrate Children’s Day. Young participants from ages 6 to 15 were invited for an interactive tour throughout the museum, where they were encouraged to explore the history of the museum, identify animals within the paintings, play a game to identify rocks, listen to stories about artefacts and more. The feedback from children and grown-ups was very encouraging, one parent said, “This was a perfect example of engaging families in museums and providing a meaningful experience. Learning happens with loads of fun.”
Trails have always formed a big part of our museum activities. At ThinkArts, we believe that trails are a great way for children to engage with the collections at a museum, develop a personal connection and retain a continued interest in what they’ve discovered.
In June 2016, the Indian Museum Detective Trail was launched. The trail was designed to take young visitors through the different galleries within the museum as they went around solving puzzles and discovering answers. The trail also provided space for children to draw parts of the exhibits they’d seen.
In May 2017, celebrating International Museum Day, ThinkArts organised a trail for the Calcutta Gallery at the Victoria Memorial Hall. In the same year, we had also designed a trail for young visitors at the Heritage Transport Museum, Gurgaon.
In November 2018, ThinkArts once again celebrated Children’s Day at a museum. This time, at the Victoria Memorial Hall. Activities such as Spot the Painting, Quizzical game, Treasure Hunting, stories from olden days of Calcutta were designed for the children. It was a joy to see the young visitors immersing themselves in the collection and eagerly participating in the activities. It was lovely to hear one of the children comment, “I went to spend some time with my friends and explore Victoria Memorial. It was a fun day with games and friends.”
Just before the lockdown last year in 2020, our last venture AT a museum, Let’s Take a Walk, took place in February 2020 in collaboration with the Activity Club of Victoria Memorial Hall.
In August and October 2020, we organised online workshops for children as part of virtual exhibitions presented by DAG Museums and Victoria Memorial Hall, where children have had the opportunity to explore different artists, styles, methods, material and create their own artwork inspired by the artists’ works. A couple of similar workshops were also held in December 2020 with DAG, Victoria Memorial Hall and Jadunath Bhavan Museum and Research Center.
In January - February 2021, we facilitated DAG Museum's "Museum Ambassadors" program at the Ghare Baire museum in Kolkata. From working and learning with the museum curation team to designing and facilitating engaging activities for visitors, this programme gave the young students an enriching opportunity to to gain volunteering experience in a real world organisation and look at the museum space through their own lens.
In March 2021, we returned to the actual museum space after more than a year with our first offline event, "All The Museum's A Stage"! Curated and presented by ThinkArts, in collaboration with Jhalapala, Jodi Bolo Rongin, Sangram Mukhopadhyay, and Ishan Sarkar, with DAG Museums, at Ghare Baire, Kolkata, the event witnessed artists coming together to celebrate the World Day of Theatre for Children and Young Audiences, by creating pieces inspired by the artworks and museum spaces.
We at ThinkArts have enjoyed planning and organising these activities for young visitors these last few years. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is impossible to know when we can return to the physical space with such events again. ThinkArts will continue to organise alternative engagements until then and will be looking forward to the time we can meet children and young people within the walls of these treasure troves once again.
"ThinkArts is the first organisation we think of when organising programmes for young audiences at Ghare Baire. Their deep understanding of how young people engage with the arts and vision for inclusive cultural spaces makes them an ideal partner for a range of engagements – from one-off workshops or performances. to developing larger strategic youth engagement programs."
- Sumona Chakravarty, Deputy Director, Ghare Baire, Kolkata