The Playful Museums Festival is five years old this year, having been held each February since 2017. Armagh Robinson Library and No 5 Vicars’ Hill have taken part every year and will do so this time, if a little differently.
The 2021 Festival has been altered to respond to the challenges of Covid-19. Five museums in Northern Ireland will engage with the under five-year-olds virtually at #NIPlayfulMuseums. Armagh Robinson Library and No 5 Vicars’ Hill forms one of the five participating museums and has called its input ‘A Playful Museum through a Child’s Eyes’.
Thanks to funding from the Northern Ireland Museums Council and professional input by local company McCusker Pro Audio, two separate videos have been produced to show No 5 and the Library. One video features the Registry Officer, Stephen Day, in No 5 Vicar’s Hill, while the other shows the Library with the Visitor Engagement Officer, Rachel Toner and Assistant Keeper, Carol Conlin.
In speaking about the videos, Carol said, “We want to remind families that we are a playful museum and that the under 5s and their families will be welcome to visit us once more when we re-open to the public. In the meantime, our videos encourage children to look for objects in their own home or play group or school and then we show them similar objects in our buildings.”
She continued, “Over the years we have involved illustrators, story tellers, puppeteers and musicians to work with us for our Playful Museums Festival events. This time, we chose to involve three of the museum’s team who will be the people to welcome our visitors back, whatever their age.”