Children's crafts and activities at the museum
The museum and gallery are temporarily closed while we complete our redevelopment project.
Before museums, collectors would show off strange and wonderful things in their Cabinets of Curiosities. Special objects deserve to be highlighted and cared for wherever they are, so why not give your treasured objects the display and attention they deserve with our free activities.
You can make a curiosity cabinet from home using an old cardboard box.
You will need:
- a cardboard box or similar object
- scrap cardboard or sturdy material
- scissors or a craft knife
- paint of papers to decorate
- Make your cabinet using an old box or make your own box using either cardboard, wood, plastic or any other sturdy material. How strong and how simple you make your cabinet depends on what you want to display inside.
- Create shelves for your cabinet and add them to your box. We layered cardboard to create sturdy shelves and glued these into the cabinet. You could also use tape or drill the shelves in if you are using a thicker material.
- Fill your cabinet with themed objects, things you have collected, toys or other items you enjoy.
Have fun decorating and filling your cabinet of curiosities!
This activity uses everyday materials from home. Display your treasured objects under a spotlight or use the lighted display case as a lightbox for photography. You could also join boxes together to make a cabinet but remember to punch holes in the boxes to allow light in.
You will need:
- pencil or pen
- a template
- white paint or paper
- 30cm ruler
- glue stick
- Carefully tear open the glued areas of your cereal box or cardboard box and unfold it so it is a flat sheet
- Use a ruler and pencil to measure and draw out our template onto the brown side of your flattened cardboard, so you can see your pencil marks. Use a dotted line to mark which lines should be folded and a thick line for lines to be cut out. Go over the pencil with pen once you're happy with your template.
- Cut out your shape with scissors or ask an adult to help you. You should have two pieces cut out, the main shape and the square border which will become the front of the box.
- Fold your box template following the dotted guidelines. Turn your box over and use glue to cover the patterned side with white paper or paint it white. Cut any excess paper from around the edges. This white side will become the inside of the box.
- Fold your shape into a box shape, as shown, and tape the edges together from the outside.
- Tape the separate square shape onto the front of the box and push a small hole through the top of the box.
- Decorate your box with paints, papers or fabrics.
Shine your phone light or a flashlight through the hole in the top and be sure to take some photos of your object in it's new display. Try using fair lights or a small bulb to keep your object lit.
Make a memory box to store your memories, favourite trinkets or family archives in this simple and quick activity. A memory box can be a great place to keep letters, photos, and other meaningful items. Every memory box is different.
Making your box
Use a box around your home or source one online. You could recycle an old shoebox, delivery box or lunchbox into a memory box. Try to find a box with which you feel a special connection to. If you make your own, we recommend using a thick card or cardboard.
Label your memories box
Add a label to your box with your name and what the theme is for the memory box, for example, school or friends. If you want to keep your box private, make a tag that says "Property of [your name]. Do not open!"
Adding your memories
Save the meaningful things that you find or receive over time and put these items into the box for safekeeping. You never know when you'll want to dig them out and remember the past.
Last updated 24 April 2023