CURATING THE STORY MUSEUM
Transmedia practices, participatory exhibits, and youth citizenship
Children's story museums have become distinctive venues for public awareness and critical engagement with the representations and constructions of childhood; however, only limited scholarly work has focused on these sites. This proposed research examines the children's story museum as a dynamic transmedia platform for the design of participatory exhibits and critical dialogue. While many current exhibits affirm idealized childhood representations, transmedia engagements (across old and new media formats) within these spaces have significant potential for critical and subversive dialogue with ideological constructions and representations of childhoods. Framed by participatory and activist museum movements, towards 'queering the museum' and 'decolonizing the museum', this proposed project will focus on the negotiation of youth citizenship through emerging technologies in these spaces. From this perspective, we query how current children's museum exhibits focused on childhood texts and cultures present opportunities to negotiate, subvert, and/or reaffirm cultural discourses of childhood, nationalism, gender, race, sexuality, and ability. The proposed research aims to harness the potential of transmedia storytelling with the invitation for critical dialogue with childhood discourses across media. While museum education has employed interactive media for visitor engagement, the inclusion of digital storytelling and transmedia practices for critical dialogue and intervention is relatively new. Drawing upon theoretical and methodological frames from museum studies and the field of children's media cultures, this project invites children to engage as collaborative curators in the transmedia design of a pilot story museum exhibit rooted in local rare books and archival collections including the Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books, Ryerson University's Children's Literature Archive, Toronto, and Ontario Archives, alongside the child participants' own stories and imagined narratives.
This research is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada through an Insight Development Grant.
Update April 18, 2020
Since our team will not be able to meet with kids in physical elementary school classrooms and museum spaces this Spring/Summer, the Curating the Story Museum team is putting a pause on our research and continuing the project with virtual sharing and youth curating sessions.
We will send out short video questions about young people and museums every week.
Please feel free to circulate to kids, teachers, parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends, caregivers, and educators.
Here’s our first one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luBuXkm3cCo
Share your stories and ideas via video, photos, writing, audio, and any other creative form with us so we can share on our YouTube channel, email, Instagram. Your contributions will be part of public engagement/virtual community sharing but we will ask individual permission before including any of your creations in our research.
Be in touch with questions!
Naomi Hamer and Ann Marie Murnaghan and our awesome research assistants at Ryerson: Quentin Stuckey, Helena Wright, and Liu Chia Wei (Shane).
Email: curatingstory at gmail.com