Museum Mum is one! It’s been a year since I nervously wrote my first post – and set myself the challenge of reviewing 50 museums or their activities in 12 months.
Dear reader, I’m sorry to say that I failed. Whilst I knew my time would be limited, I didn’t quite anticipate how meagre my minutes would be. How baby number three might come with her own health concerns, as well as a refusal to be out of my arms, EVER! (I’m writing this one thumbed on my mobile whilst she sleeps on my arm.) Bundle this together with the relentlessness of a boisterous toddler and a growing tweenager, chuck in the odd illness, holiday, family gathering, house stuff, day at work, or other projects and BOOM – bang goes my blogging time.
So whilst I didn’t write 50 reviews, I managed about 30 posts, including listing guides. We visited more museums than that – writing up is always the hard bit, finding the headspace to find my voice.
But strangely for someone who is driven by achieving goals, I’m still feeling incredibly positive about my first year. I’ve written some posts I’m rather proud of. I had tens of thousands of you read my mutterings (thanks for that. No, seriously!) I’ve loved your comments and tweets and finding new like-minded people on and off line. I got involved with Kids in Museums, and spoke at their Family Friendly Welcome workshop at the Science Museum. With museum baby too – I’m really not joking about that attachment thing.
— Catherine Townsend (@ct_townsend) February 12, 2015
I know I’ve definitely encouraged more families into museums – well, that’s what you tell me- and have made a few museums try even harder to get their family offer right. And that’s exactly what I wanted to do.
On a selfish level, me and my family have had a blast visiting some brilliant museums!
We’ve built and launched rockets and covered our ears, squealing with delight, during firework shows.
We’ve marvelled at wildlife in aquariums, butterfly houses, bee hives and petting farms.
We’ve made oodles of crafty things – including dreamweavers, stained glass windows, marbled paper, rope – and sometimes just enjoyed making a mess!
We’ve played games and hunted high and low for eggs, letter trails and objects – sometimes enjoying a treat for our efforts!
We’ve held bars of real gold, clambered through a submarine, and ridden on monorails, vintage buses and land trains.
We’ve been spell bound by stories, dressed up, cracked codes, gone all secret agent, marvelled at 3D cinema and been impressed by digital theatre. We’ve been moved to tears by an eyewitness account from the holocaust.
And I don’t even know where to start with the amazing objects we’ve encountered – highlights include eight mummies with their secrets discovered digitally, old helicopters and (working) aeroplanes, Hitler’s (fake) passport, Grayson Perry’s pots, a jar of moles, Nick Sharratt’s and Quentin Blake’s original illustrations, Victorian urinals, and story telling dolls houses.
There have been countless ice-creams, cakes, coffees and picnics – a requisite of any museum visit.
And we’ve done it with dozens of friends and family, proving museums are a fantastic, social place for those with kids. If this is what failure looks like – bring on a second year of Museum Mum!