A pioneering new cultural partnership in Ipswich has developed 230 multi-lingual activity packs to support some of the town’s most vulnerable communities during the Coronavirus outbreak. Elle Root, Collections and Learning curator, at Ipswich Museum, tells us more.
At Colchester + Ipswich Museums we’ve been thinking about how we can be useful to our community whilst we’re not allowed to open our doors or visit community groups.
We’ve been sharing suggestions for craft activities on our website and social media platforms but this means that we’re waiting for people to come to us and we’ve assumed that they have basic craft supplies at home.
I reached out to our community groups and discovered that our local branch of Volunteering Matters (volunteeringmatters.org.uk/) were coordinating and distributing essential supplies to some of Ipswich’s most vulnerable communities via food banks, factories and schools. I contacted them and they agreed that if I could coordinate craft packs, they could distribute these.
As our budget was limited, I looked at just the materials we had available. We had supplies of coloured papers, pencils, felt-tips, crayons, paper plates, wool, glue sticks, paint palettes and odds and ends from past events. I filled up 130 bags with assorted craft supplies and a set of suggestions as to what they could do (fancy having a go at some of the crafty activities? Get the instructions here). We used leftover canvas bags but you could just use large plastic bags, brown paper bags, envelopes or anything else you have to hand.
In addition, we had 100 automata kits leftover from our Marvellous Machines exhibition, so Mel packed these into plastic bags and created a set of instructions, (build your own Marvellous Machine, download the instructions here).
We don’t have access to specialist design software to create the instructions so we used a great free website called Canva – www.canva.com/
I delivered these packs, along with activity booklets from Suffolk Libraries, to Volunteering Matters. We’ve agreed with Volunteering Matters that we’ll deliver craft materials and activities each month, until we run out of supplies.
We hope to be able to build pathways for people to visit our museums through these packs whilst we’re closed. We don’t have firm plans on how this might work but we’re considering including invitations to free events and asking people to share their creations with us via Facebook.
You can share your activity pack creations on Ipswich Museums Facebook page . Elle can talk you through making activity packs for your museum. Please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org to get the ball rolling!