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Museum object brought to life for community outreach
13 January 2014
UCL’s Outreach programme strives to enrich and inspire individuals through engagement in activities related to heritage and culture. As part of this mission, UCL Qatar’s Outreach team have delivered an education programme for children that has brought to life one of Qatar’s most recognised museum objects.
The 12-13th century Turquoise-Glazed Monkey from the permanent collection at the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, has been made into a ventriloquists dummy by the Little Angel Puppet Theatre, London. With a script developed around how objects are cared for in a museum, the money tells children what it is like to live in a museum based through his eyes - for example sleeping in a darkened room and being cleaned by conservators. The story has been brought to life by experienced British actors/improvises Josh Darcy and Sean McCann, who have a wealth of experience in both stage and community work.
The Monkey visited Hamad Hospital, the Museum of Islamic Art and The Shafallah Centre and engaged children, young people and adults in the day to day museum life from his perspective. The purpose, says UCL Qatar’s Outreach Officer, Antonia Rosati, is to encourage regular interaction with museums and to develop a sense of respect for the objects in the Museum. This is done in a light hearted way and the children were comfortable interacting with the puppet and asking questions about the museum. Some children from Hamad Hospital went on a trip to the museum where the Museum of Islamic Art staff had removed the original object from its show case in Gallery 5 so the puppet could show the children where he ‘lived’ when he was in the museum.
Notes: Turquoise-Glazed Monkey-Shaped Animal Figurine, Saljuq or Khwarazmshah, Iran (Kashan), 12th - 13th century can be found in Gallery 5, Museum of Islamic Art, Doha