Earlier this week we ran a family activity called ‘Design the Wonders’. The idea was for children to have a wander around the Wonders of the Peak and choose their favourite object. Ben, acting as the glamorous assistant would photograph the object for them – you can spot him in the reflection below. The child then glued it to their nicely decorated worksheet and described why they had chosen the object, why they liked it and what they wanted to know more about.
Piping the bear to the top spot was the Liffs Low skeleton… ‘I’ve never seen a skeleton before’. With some kids wanting to know how he died and how long he had been buried for? The children proved to be a macabre lot with the skulls also proving popular.
Less predictably was the spear appreciation club; It is awesome ‘because they were used’ and it prompted the question ‘what did cave men kill?’
It wasn’t all morbid. The mermaid was chosen ‘because she looks like Aerial’ – she doesn’t and actually I guess she could almost be classed as another dead thing. But there was an appreciation for the Blue John and a piece of amethyst ‘because it is coloured pink and purple and these are my favourite colours’.
As well as being a fun activity it was interesting for us to see what objects the children were passionate about. We will be thinking about their responses in our design ideas for the Wonders of the Peak gallery.
One thing that really came across was that the children wanted to know the personal stories of the objects. What would the Liffs Low man have looked like? Whose skull was it? How and why did he die?
I have seen reconstructed skulls on TV and in museums, so this might be something we look at doing here in Buxton. What do you think?
You can see information on the reconstruction of Liverpool Museums Leasowe man here and National Museum Wales’ Penywyrold head here.