You know that feeling of dread when you volunteer for something which seems a good idea at the time, but as time creeps forward you begin to question your sanity. I mean a sleepover in a museum seems exciting when first asked in the new year, when you are fresh and full of positivity. But when you are crawling towards a holiday, with report deadline looming, the prospect of getting no sleep fills you with dread.
Weston Park Museum in Sheffield, hosts a night at the museum every month, where schools can bring children to have the whole museum to themselves for the night. Despite my fears it was a great night and most importantly, the children loved it. The staff and volunteers at the museum were fantastic, looked after us and provided the children with a night to remember.
After the children excitedly said goodbye to their parents, the first task was a treasure hunt around the museum in the dark. Torches at the ready, each team rushed around the rooms trying to find pieces of a wooden jigsaw puzzle. Most of my class (year 3) held hands with someone as the explored each room, rushing past the eerie displays in the hope of locating a piece. Great fun.
We then carried out three tasks in rotation: making a castle, creating an Anglo Saxon helmet and my favourite, preparing a body for mummification. This final activity took place next to the display of two actual Ancient Egyptian mummies. The children had to take the brains and other organs out of ‘Fred’ instructed by a real life Egyptian Pharaoh.
Towards 10 o’clock the children chose somewhere to sleep in the natural history section, among all the stuffed animals. Then went upstairs to watch a dvd before sleep time. I rushed and set my bed next to the magnificant, iconic Polar bear.
Trips are always great for bonding with children and staff alike, whether its reassuring a child who suddenly feels honesick at 11.30pm or giggling at 5am in the morning at the loudest snores from a member of staff who will remain nameless. And I must mention how well behaved the children were- a credit to the school.
Yes I was extremely tired the next day. Yes I had to go back to bed halfway through the day. But the children had a great time and for lots of them it was their first experience away from home. I would definitely recommend, just stockpile sleep before hand!