Three dancers pose in a museum
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Bringing museum collections to life for audiences in the East Midlands

Posted on 13 May 2014

Engaging children with art and history can be tough. ‘The Imagination Museum’ manages to do both in one go. Dance company, Made by Katie Green, brings stories behind historical collections to life through contemporary dance. With performances and workshops, Katie Green’s project has entertained and informed over 1,000 children across Lincoln and Northampton.

Three dancers pose in a museum
The Imagination Museum by Katie Green. Photo © Chris Nash for Made By Katie Green Ltd

Museums might not be a young person’s idea of fun, but ‘The Imagination Museum’ is changing that. Three eccentric tour-guides, Mildred, Henry and Harriet, dance their way around the museum, using words and movement to illustrate the stories behind the historic objects they come across.

The piece has been adapted to suit different museum settings, taking inspiration from the historical collections of artefacts on display. The performance entertains onlookers with a sense of playfulness and intrigue, awakening their curiosity. It also inspires them to go off and explore the nooks and crannies of the museum for themselves.

How our funding helped

Our Grants for the Arts programme supports ‘The Imagination Museum’. Lincolnshire County Council and Derbyshire County Council also back the project, encouraging young people to engage with the arts. 

Workshops

With our funding, Katie Green has transformed dance performance into a learning experience. Alongside performances of the 'Imagination Museum', Katie Green runs creative ‘Dancing in Museums’ workshops for children.

These workshops combine heritage, dance, writing and drawing activities, and take place onsite in the museums or at local primary schools. They give children the opportunity to look at and discuss artefacts from their local museum’s collection. They then take inspiration from them to create their own dances.

In some venues, the children perform their dances to their families, showing what they’ve learnt.

The Imagination Museum takes the idea of cultural exploration and discovery and weaves it together into an entertaining performance for audiences of all ages. Arts Council England’s aim is for everyone to have access to great art and culture and I hope these performances and workshops surprise and inspire the people who take part in them. Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England

Three dancers pose in a museum.
The Imagination Museum by Katie Green. Photo © Chris Nash for Made By Katie Green Ltd

Bringing the joy of dance to over a thousand children

The Imagination Museum has been performed at Collection Museum in Lincoln, Boston Guildhall and Northampton Museum and Art Gallery. In all venues, schools have been bringing classes along to enjoy the eclectic mix of dance and history.

 “We have now worked with over 1,000 children and young people in Dancing in Museums workshops and have been overwhelmed by the children’s response to our sessions,” said Katie.

“The Imagination Museum is always changing, as no two museums or heritage sites are the same – this brings extra challenges, but means that the work is always very alive and responsive to its environment.”