Happy Museum

The Happy Museum logo

Exploring the role of play in a museum context has been a long-standing thread in our work. During 2014 – 15 we commissioned Manchester Museum (and Charlotte Derry) on projects aiming to investigate and embed playfulness in their museum practice.  The first project trained the museum’s visitor team to develop their understanding of play and reflection techniques. In the second project, the museum developed Rules for a Playful Museum, a playful and accessible handbook to capture the learning and experience of their experiments in playfulness. There are serious benefits to having fun – for adults as well as children!  Playful approaches enable audiences and communities explore challenging subjects in an open and expansive way. We need to explore different futures in order to create them – posing playful ‘what if?’ questions and encouraging creative problem solving engages our collective imagination.

Charlotte Derry has been a hugely valued and influential member of our extended Community of Practice.  In her roles as co-facilitator and mentor on our museum support programmes she has encouraged us to explore and embed playful approaches – both in our own facilitation and in the work that museums undertake with their audiences and community. Currently Charlotte is on our happy museum steering group supporting new plans and funding bids for development projects.