Soundscapes and Scarab Beetles

5 August 2016


Community and Learning Intern Blog

Week three was another exciting one for Stowe’s Community and Learning Interns. We started off the week by putting out our new Make and Take activities around the house, and doing some further research in preparation for our own Drop In session on the 23rd of August.

Our theme is soundscapes, so we’ve been looking into the pioneering work done by museums and galleries around the world over the past few years for inspiration. Sound is a popular medium at the moment because of its immersive nature, its intimate connection to memory and its ability to create a sense of place and atmosphere. Sound touches us in ways that eyesight cannot, and as such is important in creating a bridge between visitor and exhibit, and has proved particularly effective in engaging younger visitors. With all the incredible ideas we’ve found, the hardest part has been narrowing down the scope of our activity to fill just one afternoon!

On Tuesday, Alannah and I participated in our first family session, led by Jess our Community & Learning Officer, called ‘Walk like an Egyptian.’ We took 16 children around the House on an Egyptian-themed trail, beginning in Stowe’s very own Egyptian Hall, dating from 1803 and one of the first of its kind.

In the Marble Saloon, we rolled balls like Scarab Beetles. We looked for Sheep Skulls in the Music Room, wrote our names in Hieroglyphs in the Library, and decided what our servants would do for us in the afterlife in the Blue Room, before heading back to the newly decorated Learning Space to make scarab beetles from clay!

It was very interesting to see a session in action, after talking about them for two weeks! We both had a great time helping out, with Alannah helping to lead the session – even making a cameo as a Sphinx! – while I took photos.

Wednesday saw us on the bus to Oxford to have a chat with Jo Rice, the Head of Education at the Ashmolean. She talked to us about their summer family learning programme, and their new exhibition ‘Storms, Wars and Shipwrecks.’ We discussed some of the challenges of making galleries and museums family-friendly spaces, and Alannah and I came away buzzing with new ideas.

On Thursday, we continued preparations for the activities over the coming weeks, including a ‘Stowe Transformers’ stitching activity, and ‘It’s All Greek to Me’, which will involve a lot of Toga wearing! More on that to come!
Thanks again for reading!