Scotland Creates: Curtain up on our museum viral films

‘Oi! Get me out of this box!’

Seal in the Animal Senses gallery at National Museum of Scotland
Seal in the Animal Senses gallery at National Museum of Scotland.

Remember our talking seal, who complained loudly, in one of several short films created by young museum volunteers, that his life hadn’t turned out as he’d expected? Well, three months on he’s still stuck in his box, but the imaginations of our volunteers have taken flight and created five unique short films, designed to sell their museums to a young audience.

This film-making exercise was part of Scotland Creates, a partnership project between National Museums Scotland and four other museums: the Dick InstituteMuseum nan Eilean, the McLean Museum and Art Gallery and the McManus Art Gallery and Museum. Funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Creative Scotland, the aim of project is to give young people aged 16-24 the chance to learn new skills by working with museum staff.

In my previous post I explained how we joined forces with digital agency Sound Delivery and documentary film maker Suzanne Cohen to run a two-day workshop introducing our volunteers to various different aspects of film-making. After that, it was over to them to come up with their own storyboards for a 30 second short that could help change young people’s perceptions about museums. Then all they had to do was film them…

With Suzanne on hand to offer guidance and advice and to edit the film footage together, the volunteers set about their task with determination, enthusiasm and creative flair. Gradually, five very different films began to take shape.

At National Museum of Scotland, Aileen, Sam and Callum, along with fellow volunteer Steven, decided to win over their audience with humour, casting the Museum in a romantic light as the perfect venue for a date.

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Over in Greenock, volunteer Paul Maxwell used the Morfo app introduced in the workshops to bring to life colourful characters from the McLean Museum and Art Gallery.

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Members of the Youth Action Group at the McManus worked with film-maker Jon Gill to envisage a museum without objects or people, asking What makes a museum?

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Samantha Bolan and Scott Pryde at the Dick Institute reincarnated one of Ayrshire’s most famous residents, Robbie Burns – or Rappy Burns, as he became, rhyming about the Museum in full 18th century dress.

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Over on Lewis, Ruairidh McLeod and Zoee McInnes perhaps had the hardest task, as their museum, at Lews Castle, hasn’t opened yet! Taking inspiration from The Blair Witch Project, they challenged the idea of young people not wanting to visit museums by daring them to step inside.

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I’m really proud of the work our young volunteers have achieved in this short space of time, and excited that some are even furthering their film-making and acting skills through courses and involvement with drama groups.

You can see all the films and clips made during the workshop at The exhibition Scotland Creates: A Sense of Place, curated by volunteers from all five museums, runs at National Museum of Scotland until Sunday 31 August 2014.

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