As the British Museum
celebrates the 250th anniversary of opening to the public, it is looking to the future to find new ways to engage the next generation with the collection. Located just beneath the Great Court, the Samsung Digital Discovery Centre provides a state-of-the-art technological hub for children and young people to learn about and interact with the Museums unparalleled collection. Using the latest Samsung digital equipment in facilitated sessions, children will learn about all aspects of world cultures, from Chinese tombs to Egyptian paintings and from clocks and watches to clothing from around the world. This is the first project of its kind that the British Museum has undertaken with a technology partner.
The Centre will be run by two full-time members of staff who will develop, manage and evaluate the sessions and resources and establish the centre as a leader in museum-based e-learning. Specialist artists and other educators will also be recruited for specific programmes and projects as required so that the Samsung Digital Discovery Centre can provide audiences with the chance to encounter the very best practitioners in digital technologies.
The two primary audiences for the Centre are schools through a varied programme of facilitated sessions throughout the week, and families who can experience regular family learning sessions at the weekend. Programming will be targeted at children and young people between the ages of 3 and 11. The first programme of schools sessions will include:
Clothes from around the world (for 3-5 year olds).
This session introduces young children to the diversity of cultures that are found at the British Museum and helps develop confidence in using Information and Communication Technology. First children explore the galleries, talking about the different clothes they see and taking photographs using digital cameras provided by the Centre. After a break they will develop art work using the interactive whiteboard. Teachers will be able to take away or e-mail back to school photographs and childrens work from the interactive whiteboard for follow-up after the visit.
Chinese Tombs: preparing for the afterlife (for 7-11 year olds).
In the first part of this session students will be explore the Museums award-winning website Ancient China using the latest laptops and discover how the ancient Chinese buried their dead. Afterwards they will continue their investigation in the China Gallery using specially prepared activity sheets.
Greek Temples: worshipping the gods (for 7-11 year olds).
Utilising the Museums website on Ancient Greece, the children will design and build their own Greek Temple. They will continue their investigation in the Parthenon Galleries.
Family programmes will be held every weekend and during the school holidays with sessions using digital photography and animation. Programming will include a mix of informal, drop-in sessions and more structured activities which are free to the public but ticketed. These will allow families to make richer use of the Samsung Digital Discovery Centre over longer periods of time. There will be special projects which will relate to specific exhibitions and events at the Museum.
Samsung have partnered with the British Museum for five years in order that the project can continue to develop, and have provided wireless technology for the Centre that includes notebook computers, tablet PCs and digital video and stills cameras for use by pupils, plus presentation equipment including LCD TVs and photo frames, printers, projectors and DVD players.