C o m m o n w e a l t h
A s s o c i a t i o n o f
M u s e u m s
CAM Bulletin Number 7 - Nov. 2001
GCAM Column #4
The President has referred to the successful GCAM 2 workshop held in Nairobi in September: The Friendly Museum: Managing Children Programmes in African Museums. There were 20 delegates from 11 Commonwealth African countries and Canada along with 27 from the National Museums of Kenya. Two teachers were able to attend several sessions and two parents and 20 school children participated on the children's day. This proved to be an auspicious blend of "17 old and 30 new" (those participating in GCAM 1997 or just GCAM 2001) and vigorous discussions took place about a variety of topics including: what is a "friendly museum"; how do we respond to community needs; what are the characteristics of our community; evaluation; funding proposal preparation; comprehensive program plans.
Once again children, parents and teachers came to join the group for a day and this time the children conducted tours of the Nairobi Museum galleries for the participants. A day's excursion to Lake Nakuru Park and Hyrax Hill Museum, not to mention a little shopping, added to the camaraderie and set the stage for the final deliberations.
The emphasis, as in the earlier workshop was on involving children, parents, teachers and the community in the development and assessment of children's programmes. Attention was especially focused on creating "The Friendly Museum" which would attract children and families and on providing programmes addressing school, family and community needs.
A fuller description of workshop discussions and conclusions will be featured in the next Bulletin. It is planned to disseminate 3 information items about the workshop: participants' reports brought to the workshop (will be package 3 for the Group for Children in African Museums); a workshop summary report for participants; and a Manual for Children in African Museums combining aspects of the first and second workshops.
The remarkable and exciting aspect of this workshop was the ability of the group to carry on from GCAM 1 in 1997 and the obvious quality and extent of the development and thinking about children's programmes that has taken place within the group and their colleagues since that time. Many imaginative children's programmes have been implemented including a significant number dealing with contemporary issues such as HIV/AIDS and the integration of the disadvantaged. The group was ready to look more deeply into the community relationships and the relevance of children's programming as well as the broader picture of managing children's programmes. The experiences of participants, both delegates at the last workshop and those new to the GCAM program led to lively and productive discussions. While the first workshop: The Undiscovered Audience; Children in African Museums, is not the only factor, it appears to have had a strong and beneficial impact in encouraging children's programming and in stimulating the GCAM network.
Also present at this workshop was Mwadime Wazwa, Program Manager for PMDA, Program for Museum Development in Africa. As we are going to press, PMDA is completing a planning workshop to develop an action plan for children and African museums. This is also a focus for PMDA, and GCAM members are involved in the deliberations. CAM and PMDA will collaborate as possible in this important area of activity.