Written by Holly from the Youth Forum.
I have to say, I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I joined the youth forum. I thought it might be like being a ‘school councillor’, where we sort of talked about what was going on but didn’t get to make any actual decisions. I’m happy to say I was wrong though and that the museum really values the contribution of young people. Getting to go to exhibition openings, seeing behind the scenes, and making a contribution to the exhibits is all part of the process.
A clear example of this was the Reading the Rocks: the Remarkable Maps of William Smith exhibition that ran from September 2015 to June 2016. To celebrate this, the Youth Forum created our own map that represented Cardiff as we saw it, filled with our own memories, experiences and associations of this historical and beautiful city. The map was wonderfully drawn out from our ideas by artist, Huw Aaron, and on seeing the finished product, there were suggestions that it would make good a good postcard, tea towel, or framed print to sell in the gift shop. It’s pretty cool to think that something we created could potentially be sold to the general public.
Another clear highlight was going behind the scenes of the conservation department and seeing, almost by accident, an original Van Gogh painting, out of its frame and in the middle of being prepared to go back out on display. The involvement in the World War One centenary has also been very rewarding, researching for the exhibition War’s Hell: The Battle of Mametz Wood in Art, getting to go into the museum archives and attending the opening, which included an opera recital, and the presence of a full regimental brass band (goat included).
Anyone who wants to join the Youth Forum would be more than welcome. I would certainly recommend it. It has opened my eyes not only to the workings of a museum (the great things as well as the potential pitfalls) but also to areas of Welsh history that I previously knew nothing about.
The new #YourShout section on theSprout is a place for you, the good young folk of Cardiff, to have your say at the “top table” i.e. key consultations, far-reaching forums, advisory boards, leaders interviews, and more.
Cover image credit: geograph.org cc