Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and The Hunter Foundation launch innovative digital resource

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and The Hunter Foundation launch innovative digital resource

Kelvingrove Museum, with support from The Hunter Foundation, have introduced a new digital experience for young people. My Stories was created by young people for young people at risk of disengagement from secondary school and further education.

My Stories is a pioneering, interactive learning resource that begins in a refreshed state-of-the-art space within the museum, designed by some of the young people who worked on the project.

Using a tablet, small groups collaborate in a range of tasks and challenges across the museum’s different galleries, discovering more about the displays themselves and each other along the way. 

Young people participate in a variety of playful games, activities and quizzes designed to get them to look at an object and encourage them to creatively express their thoughts and responses to the city’s incredible collection.

By scanning QR codes in different galleries pupils are encouraged to think and talk about what is going on in a painting, or what an artist was trying to convey when creating an object. Young people can do this using speech bubbles, emojis, and other quirky ways to convey how they feel about an artwork.

My Stories is a fun, social, pupil-led experience, designed to help young people work in teams, build confidence, approach with new experiences, identify valuable skills and find a way to engage with Glasgow Life Museums Collection in a way that is meaningful for them.

Cathal McFadden, from Glasgow Clyde College, said:

Everything came from us. From designing to finishing the room, we put in everything. We told them what colour to use, how we want it to be seen inside. We helped Kelvingrove to change the museum.

Sir Tom Hunter, Founder of The Hunter Foundation, said:

Engaging young people, particularly in a collaborative way, builds confidence and enables peer to peer support and learning and My Stories does just that. I’m delighted our customer – the young people – were fundamentally involved in its design and build. It’s how education should be.

It is open to schools, colleges, and agencies such as youth groups and charities like The Prince's Trust who can now access free, bookable sessions across the school year. The experience is designed to last for approximately 1 hour 30 mins and can be  booked by email or telephone.

Chair of Glasgow Life, Bailie Annette Christie said:

Now, more than ever, we are aware of the well-being benefits associated with taking part in cultural and sporting activities. Glasgow Life Museums are free for everyone, and we have an important role to play in ensuring they are accessible to as many people as possible.

The very generous ongoing support of The Hunter Foundation has enabled us to introduce the trailblazing My Stories resource. In doing so the team had to challenge assumptions about what young people wanted from a museum visit, they really listened to and worked with young people to create an engaging, fun, and rewarding experience. This will improve young visitors' confidence and encourage them to believe that they are the architects of their own future.

My Stories is a successor to The Centre of New Enlightenment. TCoNE, funded by Sir Tom Hunter, opened in July 2006, when Kelvingrove Museum reopened after a £27.6 million, three-year refurbishment. Research by Kelvingrove Museum shows the TCoNE experience has been hugely successful in its goal of working with disengaged young people to build confidence and pride, while encouraging them to want to lead successful lives, by giving them an opportunity to recognise their strengths.

Glasgow Life Museums ran several My Stories taster sessions throughout December and January, ahead of the official launch.

Murdo Macdonald, Acting Depute Headteacher, Bellahouston Academy said:

We’ve seen an extremely positive impact. For pupils at Bellahouston Academy, My Stories enabled young people to experience Kelvingrove in the way that suited them. If they’ve never been to a museum before, this may encourage them to go back with family.

Bellahouston Academy pupil Gurpreet Singh said:

I'd been to Kelvingrove with my family, but I wasn’t really bothered about going on my own or with friends, but My Stories is different. I actually enjoyed going round the museum and working with the others in my group. I’ll definitely go back.

My Stories is aimed at pre-booked school and youth groups. Technology, which didn’t exist when TCoNE was launched in 2006, now allows everyone to enjoy a taste of the new digital experience, via a tailored version called My Stories Lite. This can be accessed by all visitors via a smartphone, without the need to pre-book.

Games and challenges are unlocked by scanning My Stories Lite QR codes, found in some of Kelvingrove Museum’s 22 different galleries. This new digital resource is designed to encourage people to explore Glasgow Museums Collections in more playful and surprising ways.  This immersive approach will attract new audiences by encouraging more people to see museums as a welcoming space for them.