Talking Objects

Creative engagement with the Museum: Fieldnotes resource

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Talking Objects

Creative practitioners were integral to each Talking Objects project between 2009 and 2014, helping young people aged 16–24 to make sense of objects and express their own interpretations and responses to these.

Throughout Talking Objects Collective (2012–2014), the British Museum partnered with organisations delivering accredited learning programmes, many of which had creative practice at the core of the organisation or the young people’s development, and so this relationship became even more important. Not only did the creative processes offer a way for young people to interpret objects, but the Museum increasingly became positioned as a resource for creative practice.

The following resources were written by creative practitioners in collaboration with Reagan Kiser and Lorna Cruickshanks from the Museum’s Community Partnerships Team in order to capture some of the activities used to engage young people during Talking Objects Collective projects.

The resources are themed around four creative media which were key to the Talking Objects methodology: Drama and Performance, Dance and Movement, Art and Design, and Storytelling, and illustrate the potential offered by creative exploration in the British Museum. We have also brought together some of the adaptable object-based and warm up activities used in the Community Partnerships Team with various audiences.


Using the resources:


  • These resources are designed for creative practitioners, learning facilitators and community organisations hoping to engage with objects and collections in new ways.
  • Each themed resource contains suggestions for self-led activities designed and tested in the galleries of the British Museum.
  • The suggested activities are meant to be adaptable for use in any gallery or museum and with a variety of ages and abilities.
  • As needed, handling objects and replicas, and ordinary everyday objects found in the studio or classroom can be used to facilitate these activities.
  • Please note that the Talking Objects Collective projects were all based around the Lewis Chessmen so references may be made to these in the resources. However, each of the activities is adaptable to a range of collections, museums and galleries.



Further information on the Talking Objects Collective and the Talking Objects methodology


Talking Objects Collective 

Talking Objects Toolkit  

Further information on access and planning independent visits


A guide for Supplementary Schools 

Access guide