The F.E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio has been chosen as one of five venues across Northern Ireland to take part in a year-long programme, Playful Museums.
This is aimed at enhancing the reputation of galleries and museums as valued places for enjoyment, fun and learning for young visitors aged five and under along with their parents and carers.
Since its launch in September 2016, venues participating in the Playful Museums pilot have been offering a mix of free activities such as storytelling and interactive experiences to the smallest of visitors with a view to providing new opportunities for learning and development. Activities offered at the F.E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio to date have proved extremely popular with families and include baby massage and yoga sessions for 0-6 months, baby sensory for 0-13 months and Toddler Tuesdays with local artist Millie Moore for 1 to 5-year-olds.
Gallery Curator Dr Riann Coulter said: “It’s a great opportunity to be a part of Playful Museums because it fits in with our overall aim of making the F.E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio a facility that is welcoming and accessible to audiences of all ages. Playful Museums has enabled us to enhance our activity programme, widen our appeal to families and engage with children who have not yet reached school age.”
It is anticipated that Playful Museums will deliver a number of outcomes for participating venues: staff will gain new skills and a better understanding of the needs and interests of children, parents and carers. Playful Museums has been organised by the Northern Ireland Museums Council and Heritage Lottery Fund NI.