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Next generation to take control of University Museum

Two participants at an event in the MUSA Collections Centre looking at a model eye from the Historic Scientific Instruments Collection.

The University of St Andrews is on the hunt for the curators of the future, thanks to a new initiative spear-headed by its own museum.

MUSA (Museum of the University of St Andrews) will allow locals youngsters special behind the scenes access to its treasures, as part of an initiative that aims to shed the ‘dull and dusty’ image of museums to teenagers.

As part of the Youth Curators Project, which kicks off in January next year, MUSA is inviting local teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 to join a team which will plan an exhibition using artefacts from the University’s nationally important collections.

The group of youngsters will be asked to come up with a subject for the exhibition and be given the opportunity to select items for display.  They will also be given special access to explore behind the scenes at the MUSA Collections Centre, where many of the University’s artefacts are kept when not on show.

While getting hands-on with some rare historic and scientific objects, the young participants will develop a range of new skills including design, problem solving, decision making, film production, marketing and communication. They will also be shown how to handle the artefacts safely in order to preserve the heritage of the University, which is currently celebrating its 600th anniversary.

Matt Sheard, Audience Development Officer for the University’s Museum Collections Unit, said:

“Local teenagers often feel that the University isn’t really relevant to them and that museums are a bit dull and dusty. This programme changes that – it puts the young people in control, shows them that the University is about experimenting and encourages them to defy the traditional museum conventions. They will use these objects to create a display on the subject of their choice in any way they can. Last year was MUSA’s busiest summer to date and we expect the next one to be even more so; visitors from as far away as Australia, Japan and the United States will see the creative talent of the young folk of St Andrews.”

Participants will meet twelve times between January and June, when the exhibition will open with a special ceremony in time for the busy summer period.

The University of St Andrews cares for three Recognised Collections of National Significance, which include artefacts deemed to be of unique importance to Scotland. The Youth Curators scheme is part of a wider project to encourage greater engagement with the collections and has been made possible through funding from Museum Galleries Scotland.

Anyone interested in taking part in the project can find a sample application form and further details on MUSA’s website. Closing date for applications is 7 January 2012, enquiries can be made by contacting Matt Sheard on 01334 461699 or mjs42@st-andrews.ac.uk.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Image shows two participants at an event in the MUSA Collections Centre looking at a model eye from the Historic Scientific Instruments Collection.

Issued by the University of St Andrews Press Office

Contact Victoria Herd on 01334 462530 or victoria.herd@st-andrews.ac.uk

Reference: (musa071211)

View the latest University of St Andrews Press releases at www.st-andrews.ac.uk/news

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