Amongst all the speeches made at the Museum of Australian Democracy’s launch of their ‘Play Up’ exhibit, the audience favourite definitely belonged to the little girl from Telopea Park Public School. She reminded the children that the next time their parents tell them to stop playing, that they should be doing their homework, they can tell their parents that the United Nations has declared that all children have the right to play. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child was the inspiration for this new exhibit, which explores children’s’ rights.
Ms Daryl Karp, Director for the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House says, “Children are our future agents of change, so engaging them early in the conversation about their unique set of human rights is an important step to ensure future democratic engagement.” Whilst that my be a long while off for my two who are both under three years of age, I absolutely love the idea of involving children in the design of museum exhibits where they are the target audience.
Children were able to have input and help create the exhibit through different holiday programs, exploring how mischief can be a powerful form of protest. I was lucky enough to speak with Mr Geoff Filmer, who was the graffiti artist for the exhibit. He told me about how engaged the children with a variety of stencils and paint, letting them explore the patterns and colours independently, in order to create an entire room filled with graffiti art inspired by the UN Rights of a Child.
If my daughter’s tantrum at the prospect of having to leave this hands on, interactive exhibit is anything to go by – Play Up is an absolute hit with the children. There are so many different toys to play with, picture books to read, bean bags to sit on, not to mention the gorgeous artwork created by children, that, “I’m bored” is something I can guarantee you your children won’t be saying at this museum! My children’s favourite was the retro style telephone (and strangely I had one just like it when I was a child… but back then that phone was our only phone!). A practical parenting aspect to this exhibit is that there is only one entrance/exit. So you can relax, knowing that if you keep an eye on that door – your children won’t disappear!
Play Up is open daily from 9am-5pm. The current theme ‘The Right to Play’ is on display until June 2015. I’m looking forward to seeing how they tackle their next exhibit ‘The Right to Shelter’ which will open in July 2015. Check out the museum’s website for further details http://moadoph.gov.au/