Volunteering with Samsung Digital Discovery Centre

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Each of the Museum Futures host museums will be offering volunteer activities this autumn, specifically to young adults interested in learning more about museum work. We are hoping that these experiences will ignite an interest in museums as a career option. And maybe a few people will apply for the Museum Futures paid traineeship that wouldn’t otherwise think this kind of work was for them.

One of the volunteer opportunities at the British Museum will be supporting a workshop in the Samsung Digital Discovery Centre. This weekend I got to observe a workshop was called Shadow Puppets, which was aimed at families with children 5 and up. The session was led by Moa Taylor Hodin, who is an inspiring educator and made the session fun and informative for the kids and their parents. Together we learned a bit about the ancient tradition of shadow-puppetry in Java and then we got a chance to choose a story to recreate through the puppets and make a film using tablets (which are now available on vimeo). Not only did this workshop remind me about the imagination of kids and the power of storytelling - especially stories about dragons and princesses and talking trees - but it also reminded me the power of objects and the stories they tell. After we filmed the stories, we go to look at, and gently play with beautifully intricate shadow puppets from China. One of the Chinese families there immediately recognized one of the puppets as being from the story of Monkey King. Because it was clear that these shadow puppets were “special”, because of the way they were displayed and presented, many of the kids took time to really look at them and ask questions about where they came from, what they meant, and how they would be used by puppeteers. In this moment, the kids were all way more interested in these colorful pieces of paper than they were in their tablets. I think the beauty of the SDDC is the way it uses technology to attract and engage young audiences but it is still the collections and the stories that are the star of the show.

If you are 18-24 years old and interested in volunteering at the SDDC, please email nsalinas-burton@britishmuseum.org