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Teaching children about history through animation at Sandwich Guildhall Museum

Museum Contact: Linda Elliot, Hon. Curator

Background:

Sandwich Guildhall Museum is housed in a medieval building in the heart of the town.  Its displays were designed and installed in the 1990s and are in need of revitalising.  The museum was successful in a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a redevelopment.  The museum also received funding and support from the Museum Development Programme as part of the 'Re:Fresh' project which saw Heritage Consultant Kate Measures carry out a 'Fresh-Eye Visit' and make recommendations on ways to improve the welcome and visitor experience.

Sandwich Guildhall Museum has continued to develop and went on to work with children's author Faye Beerling earlier this year in order to find new ways of engaging with audiences.

Faye Beerling's visit:

On the 28th August Sandwich Guildhall Museum was privileged to host the well known children’s author Faye Beerling. Faye entranced a large group of children and adults during a story telling session in the museum with tales of Medieval England and the lives of ordinary folk. Comments from the audience showed that everyone was educated and entertained and many wanted to know the next time Faye would be visiting the museum.

Moving from the museum to the oak panelled Guildhall Jury Room we were delighted by the first public showing of the animated film based on the best selling book Life as a Medieval Peasant. The audience grew and we ended up showing the film four times to satisfy demand. Finally, the event ended with a question and answer session with Faye, Gareth Bowler illustrator of the books and film and animator Sally Chittenden. Some searching questions were asked by the children and it would seem we have some budding authors here in Sandwich.

I can highly recommend Faye and her team and if you have the chance to invite them along to your museum I would advise you to welcome them with open arms!

Long term plans:

From the museums point of view it was a very worthwhile event and we hope to forge a good relationship with Faye and her publishers. The books and DVD are colourful and well-presented and our sales of both items has been good. We anticipate when the museum interior has been refurbished and we have a better souvenir sales area both items will be amongst our best selling children gifts. Hosting such events within the museum advertises the museum and brings in visitors who may not have seen it as a place to be entertained as well as educated.

Animated Graphic Novel:

Link to the official trailer for 'Life As A Medieval Peasant': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iq4jL5s5iQY