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Museums must be fun

Visiting museums has always been a special experience. To stand next to a skeleton of a dinosaur that walked millions of years ago is unique. No television programme can replace the feeling one gets from standing inches away from orders written by the Duke of Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo or being almost close enough to touch a Saxon glass beaker made over a thousand years ago.

These days museums make a big thing about being interactive. They like visitors to touch and feel the exhibits if possible. There are many ways in which museums can be turned into exciting places and here are some examples

Isle of Wight Steam Railway

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At the Isle of Wight Steam railway an interactive gallery was created with the help of money from the lottery. Many of the exhibits were built by volunteers. A child size steam engine has been created that children can play with, they can blow a whistle and blackened tennis balls can be shovelled in as coal

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Another great idea was using a game of top trumps to put across some rather dull information. They wanted to provide information about each of their steam engines  but instead of creating a long line of display panels they put informatin about wheel configuration and power into a set of large top trumps - great fun to play and you do actually end up reading information you would never have thought you were interested in

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They wanted to show a map of railways on the Isle of Wight. They could have just put a map on a wall but instead they chose to create a map and put brio railways on it. It is a great way to get children interacting with the information and gives adults time to look around

Needles Battery, Isle of Wight

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Dressing up is always fun for children and also being able to interact with objects. Typewriters are intriguing to children brought up on iphones.

Mottisfont House, Romsey

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A 3d graphic showing how a house has changed over the centuries explains in seconds what it would take several minutes to read. It is a faster and much more relaxing way of absorbing information

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A simple photo album allows visitors to see more images that can be displayed. It also provides a different experience to walking from display to display

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Children can build a wooden model of Mottisfont House. This technique would work well in Guildford where they could build a model of the castle and learn about how it was laid out

Cutty Sark

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Wooden toy boat on the Cutty Sark. There are plenty of children's activities on the ship