Wild About Plymouth featured in book celebrating innovation

Wild About Plymouth, the family natural history programme run by the City Museum and Art Gallery, is featured in a new book highlighting innovative approaches to community engagement.

The programme, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this spring, was established by staff from the Museum’s natural history and learning teams.

It offers a natural history or science based event in or around the city once a month throughout the year. Over the last decade thousands of local people have taken part in events covering everything from birds, fossils and dinosaurs to rocks, insects and stargazing.

The programme has also received a huge amount of support from other local organisations including Plymouth University, the Marine Biological Association and the Sir Alistair Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science.

A chapter on Wild About Plymouth has been included in ‘Engagement and Access: Innovative Approaches for Museums’, a book put together by Dr Juilee Decker, head of the museums studies programme at the Rochester Institute of Technology in America.

It features best practice examples of how museums in America and the United Kingdom are engaging with the public. From working with teenagers to improving access to collections, the book provides museum colleagues across the world with a series of useful case studies that they can take away and share.

Deputy Council Leader Peter Smith said: “Wild About Plymouth is a great way for families to engage with the natural world around them while discovering more about the Museum and Art Gallery’s natural history collections. The team at the Museum has done a brilliant job with it over the last 10 years. We were delighted to contribute a chapter to an international publication that looks at how museums can serve communities and offer creative, educational experiences.”

Jan Freedman, natural history curator and Wild About Plymouth co-ordinator said: “Since Wild About Plymouth began more than 10,000 people have taken part in our events. What really works for us is having experts at our events who are approachable and passionate about natural history and science. We are extremely proud to be sharing information about the programme with other museums and hope some of them will be encouraged to develop their own natural history events.”

The next Wild About Plymouth event will take place at the Museum and Art Gallery on Saturday 19 March to mark British Science Week 2016.