Friday, 8 August 2014

Afternoon Explorers Shoes - 'Following Feet' by Hannah Eastwood

I was kept on my toes during my Afternoon Explorers family drop in session on the 4th August. Summer holidays bring in the crowds of families looking for fun and free activities to do with their children and although we were a little tucked away in the lecture theatre at the Pitt Rivers Museum - we soon had plenty of families looking for a fun craft.

© Pitt Rivers Museum

 The activity was prepared by Simone (Families Education Officer at the Pitt Rivers) and the theme of ‘shoes’ was decided in advance, so it was my job to step in and deliver the activity, prepare resources and plan the day.

To add something with my own stamp on I also designed my own trail to accompany the making shoes activity. I was short for time to put something together, but I was determined to produce something that I could say was my own. I really enjoyed researching the footwear around the museum but I had the added pressure of the lower gallery being closed for redisplay which limited my shoe finding! However I found enough shoes to pop in to the trail and it was then a case of producing something from scratch on InDesign. I had great fun coming up with some feet related puns to guide them round the trail: ‘tip toe over here’ and ‘take a big stride’. 

© Pitt Rivers Museum

My trail seemed to be a success and I was very proud to see so many children enjoying their time in the Museum hunting for the shoes on the trail. I even spotted one boy of about 5 years old ‘walking’ his moccasins around the museum on his hands going ‘stomp, stomp, stomp!’ to the next object!

The inspiration for the craft activity was taken from the beautiful Native American moccasins, which are on display on the ground floor court of the Museum. Children and adults had the opportunity to make their very own paper moccasins! I was very impressed with the decoration and patterns applied to the shoes and saw some excellent results that the children were very pleased with.

© Pitt Rivers Museum

As well as the craft activity and the trail, children and adults were also invited to look at and handle some real shoes from the handling collection. These included a snowshoe and a shoe made from a recycled car tyre!

© Pitt Rivers Museum

Overall, despite it being a beautiful sunny day we had over 50 visitors and around 60 paper moccasins were made! It’s always a satisfying feeling to hear that people enjoyed the activity and I received some lovely feedback about the day from both adults and children.

It has been a wonderful experience delivering a family event and I have benefited a great deal from learning exactly what goes in to the preparation and delivery. I’m looking forward to the next ‘Afternoon Explorer’ session about ‘shields’!

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