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Children take over top jobs at the Ironbridge Gorge Museums! (9th November 2011)

On Friday, 11th November children and young people in Shropshire will be taking over the Ironbridge Gorge Museums for the day. The activities are being organised as part of Children’s Commissioner’s Takeover Day 2011, a national event led by the Children’s Commissioner for England which gives children and young people the chance to shadow jobs, get involved in decision-making and offer their opinions on key issues.

Young people from Coalbrookdale and Ironbridge Primary School and Broseley C of E Primary School will be given the opportunity to audit the Stories of the World exhibitions currently on display at Enginuity and The Coalbrookdale Gallery. These exhibitions form part of the Museum’s ‘Science Sport Life’ programme along with CORE a digital art installation by international artist Kurt Hentschläger, due to open in March 2012. With guidance from Museum management staff the group will take the lead in helping to develop their own ideas about how these exhibits can be taken forward into the New Year. In their own Apprentice style board room the young people will be given the opportunity to consider a range of management issues faced by the Museum including the development of exhibitions, potential retail opportunities and ways to market exhibitions to both families and schools.

The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust is an educational charity and welcomes around 70,000 educational visits per year. Young people take part in all kinds of workshops and activities from creative activities at Coalport China Museum to Design and Technology workshops at Enginuity. This is the first time that the Museum has taken part in Takeover Day.

Steve Miller, Chief Executive of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, said: “The views and ideas of young people are of great value to the Museum. Young minds often approach management challenges from different directions and come up with innovative and imaginative solutions.  We will be genuinely interested in the results that come out from this exciting project”.

Maggie Atkinson, Children’s Commissioner for England said: “I am very excited about our fifth Children’s Commissioner’s Takeover Day this year, and I look forward to hearing about what people are doing. The day provides such a brilliant opportunity for children and young people to make a difference to their schools and communities, have their voices heard and challenge the stereotypes about them that we hear too often. Children and young people have so much to offer. They bring ideas, imagination and energy which can really make a difference to organisations.”

This year the Children’s Commissioner hopes that 50,000 children and young people around the country will be part of Children’s Commissioner’s Takeover Day, and numerous organisations have already signed up. It is being held on Remembrance Day to encourage intergenerational understanding and the Royal British Legion is also supporting the day.

On the day in 2010, around 40,000 children and young people worked with organisations including businesses, schools, police and fire services, newspapers, banks, TV and radio stations, local councils, MPs, over 50 museums, charities and Government departments. Everyone got involved, including the BBC, Co-operative Group and even the Mayor of London.