Blog: A Busy First Week Back!

We were delighted to reopen on Wednesday 2nd December and start welcoming you back through the doors. As of Friday, we even have this spiffy new sign, kindly donated by LTD Design! On top of that excitement though, we have been up to all sorts of things:

Whilst closed, we worked on some exciting Christmas events coming up:

This year we are doing a family friendly Christmas crafting event over four days (19th to 22nd December) aimed at 7-9 year olds called ‘A Victorian Christmas in Brunel’s Tunnel Shaft‘. There are 2 sessions per day, 12pm-1.30pm and 2pm-3.30pm. Children and families will be taken down to our magically decorated shaft and get to make their own Victorian Christmas cards and decorations to take home. There is also the option to do a detective trail to find out more about the Brunel family achievements, and win a prize at the end! Tickets are very limited due to COVID-19 safety measures – click here to get your family ticket before they’re all gone!

We are also running ‘Stories of Christmas Past‘ – a Victorian Christmas for children and elderly residents from the local area. Working with actors from Spectrum Drama, this intergenerational project brings together young people from Albion Primary School and older residents in Rotherhithe to host a Victorian Christmas. Museum volunteers are collaborating with the actors to capture ideas and themes for a play. The actors will visit the school in the roles of Sir Marc and Sophia Brunel and film the children asking questions about Christmas in the past. This will be shown to the group of older people so that they can respond. Participants will be brought together safely, with children in the Brunel Thames Tunnel shaft, and the elderly residents virtually present. A film about how we did this and what the children and the residents contributed will be released soon after this celebration event. This project has been made possible thanks to the Arts Council Culture Recovery Fund.

“We know how important it is to be able to provide these opportunities for intergenerational learning and we’re so pleased to have found a way to keep our most vulnerable residents safe.” Clara Pereira, Learning and Volunteer Manager.

“This Christmas we joined forces with the Brunel Museum to bring some cheer to local residents of all ages by recreating a Brunel family Christmas.” Suzanne Rayner, Spectrum Drama.

 

Events in the last week:

On Saturday 5th December we hosted 6th form students taking part in an Open City Accelerate programme skills development workshop day. The Accelerate programme is an educational and mentoring programme that aims to increase diversity in professions related to the built environment. They used the Brunel Museum, the Thames foreshore and the local environment as the basis of their research for the workshops. We hosted them in the shaft and ran tours of the museum with volunteers Peter and Katie. Some activities were also outside which made the piazza and surrounding area very animated!

Excellent photography by Luke O’Donovan

On Sunday 6th December we welcomed more young people to the museum, this time as part of the SE16 Youth Initiative Project, funded by Southwark Council.  This is the beginning of a collaboration between Brunel Museum and BizzieBodies, who are now the leading partners on this SE16 Youth Initiative Project.  The young people that participate in this project have the opportunity to develop skills in STEAM, as well as history, climate change, and aspects of Victorian architecture. The project is led by experts in Architecture, Digital Design, 3D Printing, Coding and Art.

Their current research is based around:

  • The Brunel Museum
  • Marc Brunel and his family
  • The Thames Tunnel
  • Women in STEM (inc. Lady Sophia Brunel)

On Sunday they visited the museum, met the team and took a tour of the museum and shaft (led by guide Maribeth). They then attended a session in the shaft led by Spectrum Drama. They were also interviewed on site by a professional filmmaker. Once they complete their research and create their 3D works, they will come back to the museum and we will organise an open day to showcase their work and share it with the community. Watch this space!

The museum has been able to continue during the UK lockdown and plan for its reopening, thanks to emergency funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England and Southwark Council. It has also seen generous supporters backing an ongoing Covid-19 Crisis Appeal set up by the museum’s Trustees. Thank you to everyone helping us keep going during this difficult time.

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