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Jonny Parker is a Nottingham Trent University student undertaking a placement at the National Justice Museum. Here, he reflects on the newly redeveloped Crime Gallery, the museum’s new orientation space, and the interactives for family visitors.
Upon my first visit to the newly refurbished National Justice Museum, I cannot help but be struck by just how interactive the whole place is. With new exhibitions aplenty, there is so much to get really stuck into whatever age you are.
One can choose to start your tour with the Journey through time video, which is in a small cinema room situated just before the free exhibitions rooms. I personally began with this and found it to be extremely informative and interesting. The speech was simple yet packed with information and was no longer than about 6 or 7 minutes meaning everything said is precisely packed into this time making it hard to lose interest into what’s being said. This is key, especially if you are bringing little ones along with you to the museum. The video is also animated, making it even more child accessible, but also manages to avoid the condescending tone that many videos of this kind end up having – so you can still enjoy it and take something away from it even if you are a bit older!
From the Journey through time video I made my way into the Free Exhibitions rooms. It was here that I really began to appreciate the new modern feel that is surrounding the place since its relaunch. Everything feels fresh and there’s still that lovely “new” smell in the air, avoiding the old musty smell that many other museums contain. There is also so much going on to get involved with. Whether it be the touch screen quiz games that you can play, or the interactive virtual reality game where you can choose which person you would want to be and then see what fate awaits you after committing your crime, there is really something for everyone to enjoy.
It was also here that I came across a children’s activity table. After speaking to one of the members of staff at the museum I discovered that this table will be used for many different activities that children can enjoy – particularly over the school holidays when volunteers are available to come and help out. I witnessed the aftermath of the most recent activity to take place which, judging by the evidence, was thoroughly enjoyed by all those who took part. It was an activity where the children had to draw and cut out a key using a template and then write one word which reflects what justice really means to them. I found this to be an incredibly useful activity as it was simple, yet fun and had an educational background as each child was able to express what they had taken from the exhibitions so far.
To sum up, the National Justice Museum really feels as though it’s become an open and interactive world for everyone, eradicating the stereotype that museums are plain and boring. Whilst there remains plenty of information on hand and exhibits that one can only look at, there is a remarkable balance with the interactive exhibits available which adds to the whole experience and really makes you feel as though you are involved and can take something away from what you’ve seen. In my eyes it is a wonderful new interactive world that is fun for all the family and rightly holds its place as one of the East Midlands’ most iconic tourist destinations.
Jonny Parker, Volunteer Blogger.