Friday 14 January 2022

Child Engagement in Museums: Pop Art

The third instalment in a series of guest blog posts by Shiona Herbert of Ignite Your Audience

Museums and heritage sites offer an abundance of artistic stimulation. You can provide a simple clipboard of blank paper and a grey lead pencil and invite visitors to sketch what they like: an artefact, a building, a display, a landscape… whatever catches their eye.

Photography boffins can spend hours creating perfectly composed photographs of heritage objects. And in this digital age, we can take a quick snap on our SMART phone of items that inspire us in a museum space.

In fact, a wonderful way of bringing the past and the present together is to take a photo of something from the past and use a present-day App to give it a whole new interpretation. This is something that the Perenjori Primary School students achieved while exploring our virtual exhibitions.

Students scrolled through our online content looking for something to catch their eye. They saved a copy of an image they found appealing and turned it into an example of Pop Art via the PhotoFunia App. One of the pioneers of Pop Art was Andy Warhol, an American advertising artist who took every day items (soup cans, soap boxes, commercial photographs…etc.) and repurposed them into fine art. The PhotoFunia filters are representative of Warhol’s contribution to the genre.

Postmaster General telephone exchange timer from the Post Office virtual exhibition, created using the PhotoFunia app.

Students in Perenjori took the time to explain why they chose a particular image and our Virtual Curator made an entire online gallery of their Museum Pop Art. They were thrilled to see their digital artwork on display for the whole world to see. Some even had relatives living in other countries and encouraged them to jump online and look at their artistic contribution. It really was a wonderful way to engage our local youth and increase our online viewing numbers.

So, the next time a teacher books a visit to your museum, encourage them to bring their iPads and schedule time in the excursion for them to take photos of the items in your collection and turn them into Pop Art.  Before they leave, arrange with the teacher to send the images to the museum.

If your museum has an online platform, take the time to upload the Pop Art created; whether it’s a website, Facebook or Instagram account. It will generate a fresh interest in an established collection. If your museum doesn’t have an online presence, that’s ok, you’ve got walls to display the art on! Even consider holding an ‘official unveiling’ of the Pop Art Gallery and invite your artists to come back for drinks & nibbles and celebrate the new interpretation of items in your museum. (Heads up – when inviting children to official arty events, be sure to have a small basket of Chupa Chup lollypops for the kids to enjoy.)

To learn how to use PhotoFunia to create pop art images (and to see some more examples), download our quick PDF guide.

Ticket from the Midland Railway virtual exhibition, created using the PhotoFunia app

The third instalment in a series of guest blog posts by Shiona Herbert of Ignite Your Audience

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