It is amazing the ideas that can come out of the need to entertain children at a birthday party.
Here at Huronia Museum we are always trying to come with new and interesting ways to engage the children who visit us. When it comes to direct contact I think we are doing incredibly well. The education based programs we offer are very well received by both parents and teachers, but not every child who comes here is part of a school group enjoying specifically directed activities. Throughout the summer months the majority of our visitor are independent travellers. Moms and Dads out for a little adventure with their families, which means that while mom and dad might find the museum very interesting, the kids may get a little restless. Our recreated Huron Ouendat village is incredibly popular with kids. It is living history where they are encouraged to touch and climb and play. Once you come inside though, running, yelling and handling anything you might find interesting isn’t always allowed. So what do you do to keep the kids engaged and give mom and dad time to explore the collection at their leisure? TREASURE HUNT!
For years Huronia Museum has offered various artifact hunts through the museum. This gives kids a game to play that keeps them interested and draws more attention to all the artifacts on display. They see much more of the collection when hunting for something specific like the dog treadmill churn. This has long been a very popular activity, especially given the chance to win a prize upon completion of the hunt.
Nahanni Born, our administrator, recently held a birthday party here at the museum for her daughter and her other 6 year old friends and she had the brilliant idea of creating a treasure hunt designed to draw attention to our art collection. It went over very well. The kids loved the challenge and had a great time looking at all the paintings. It went so well that we decided to offer it as an activity to visiting children. The idea is that each child receives a large photograph of PART of one of the paintings in our gallery. Their job as treasure hunters is to locate the painting that their photograph came from.
This picture is a very small segment of one of painting and the children would have to look closely at all the paintings to find the one it came from.
Nahanni has also decided to take it one more step. She describes it as Where’s Waldo meets Da Vinci Code. That phase is still in development, but I admit that I am completely fascinated and I think that visiting children are going to have a great time with it.
What is the lesson here. Necessity really is the mother of invention. Look at the great ideas that can come out of a child’s birthday party.