Seven Years at The MAD Museum
The MAD (Mechanical Art & Design) Museum in Stratford upon Avon exhibits over 60 interactive pieces of automata and kinetic art belonging to inventors from all around the world. They are celebrating their 7th birthday this year, Katie talks to us about their 7 year journey and the impact they have had with school groups and the creative way in which they work.
Hi Katie, The MAD Museum has seen great success working with school groups over the past 7 years, what do you think some of the contributing factors to this have been?
Hi, I think one of our main reasons is that The MAD Museum is almost entirely interactive; we encourage visitors to press buttons, use foot pedals, build marble runs and to really get stuck in. These fun, hands-on attributes support student’s learning and retention of subjects.
Our MAD Museum was setup by a local entrepreneur and is run by a small, passionate team. We want to inspire our visitors to build, design and to think outside the box. I think our enthusiasm and knowledge of mechanical art really does come across to our visitors.
Another contributing factor is that we offer free recce tickets to teachers. We have found it really helps teachers if they can come and have a look around before making the decision to bring a group.
The way you mix creativity, art and design with STEAM topics is quite unique, what are some of the things teachers might be surprised to find out that you offer?
We are lucky with mechanical art, it exemplifies clever design, originality and calculated accuracy with a dash of humour. That in turn means we support a wide range of curriculum topics. We are the UK’s only centre for mechanical art and we display one-off pieces belonging to pioneering artists and inventors from all around the world.
What are some of the most popular things that teachers bring their classes to you to do?
We have found groups mainly visit our museum to examine and interact with the weird and wonderful pieces of mechanical art on display. We offer activity packs for students to complete while in the museum and these have proved very popular with groups. We offer KS1, KS2 and KS3/4 packs for students and answer packs for teachers which support the national curriculum. These packs consist of find-and-answer exhibit questions, design challenges and drawing activities.
The MAD Museum lend itself to creative thinking as well as just being creative, do you get many art students coming to your museum and what type of activities do they do when they are there?
As the country’s only hub for mechanical art, we meet many creatively minded visitors all the time. We encourage photos, videos and sketching at MAD. Teachers often challenge their students to sketch or photograph the movement of exhibits, different materials, lighting effects or to simply experiment with different ideas and compositions. These activities then support follow up exercises back at school.
What type of resources do you offer to teachers?
We offer KS1, KS2 and KS3 resources packs for teachers to use before, during and after a group trip to The MAD Museum. Depending on the age group, these packs provide teachers with lesson ideas, exhibit tips, helpful video links and follow up exercises.
We offer a range of construction kits for students to build back in the classroom. Typically, our automata kits are for reception and primary groups and teach students about cams and linkages. Our marble run kits, which are a bit fiddlier, are for the older groups. At the end of a group visit, teachers are given a box of kit parts for the students to construct. Instructions and support videos are also provided.
Our student activity packs and teacher resources also provide follow up work.
Are there any exciting things in store for 2019 at The MAD Museum?
We are currently in the process of making our interactive area, The MAD Zone, even more hands-on. In this space students are encouraged to building marble runs, construct with building blocks and decipher sequences with gears. The MAD Zone has proved to be very popular with all age groups so we are hoping the new improvements will be a hit!
We are always on the lookout for new fascinating sculptures and contraptions to exhibit, there are already several new fantastic machines lined-up for this year.
If you are interested in hearing a bit more about how the MAD Museum can help you with planning your next school trip then why not get in touch here.
The MAD Museum
The Mechanical Art & Design Museum, or 'MAD Museum' for short exhibits around 90 interactive pieces of kinetic art and automata made by inventors from all around the world. This is where art meets movement and where engineering has humour.
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