31-03-2023 12:34 PM BST
Museums in North Devon are going wild this Easter as part of a national primary schools project to picture a future for UK wildlife. The Wild Escape, led by national art charity Art Fund with support from Arts Council England, hundreds of museums, galleries and historic houses across the country are coming together for the largest ever collaboration between UK museums. In North Devon, children and families will discover museum collections in Barnstaple, Ilfracombe, Braunton and Mortehoe and work with artists, writers and performers to celebrate the nature on their doorstep.
The project will invite 7-11 year-olds to join the conversation about biodiversity, culminating in events in Barnstaple and Ilfracombe on World Earth Weekend from 21-23 April 2023. In Combe Martin, Lynton and Exmoor, local schoolchildren have already created artwork that will also be shared as part of the Earth Day weekend celebrations.
Manager at the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon, Alison Mills said: “We’re excited to be joining museums and galleries across North Devon and the rest of the country in this brilliant project. We are inviting children to get involved in a special programme of creative activities celebrating UK wildlife. I hope young visitors to North Devon museums will enjoy exploring the collections and learning about our amazing wildlife and the importance of protecting it for the future.” Jenny Waldman, Director of Art Fund, said: “I’m thrilled that North Devon’s museums are joining hundreds of organisations, from the Outer Hebrides to Folkestone, to connect thousands of children with the natural world through the UK’s truly great museums. Thanks to the invaluable support of Arts Council England, the Wild Escape will empower families and children across the UK to visit and discover our wonderful museums, whilst taking positive action to picture a better future for our wildlife.”
The project is being led by Claire Gulliver on behalf of North Devon’s museums. She is working with origami installation artist Caroline Preston, who will invite schoolchildren to be ‘Science Investigators’, exploring UK wildlife in the museum and natural environment, making ‘species silhouettes’ and ‘montage maps’ of their encounters. Poet, musician and environmentalist Tia Meraki will provide a sensory avian adventure and delve into the shells and pebbles of the North Devon coast using story and sound. Earth Weekend will consist of Wild Night at the Museum on Friday 21 April, which will give families the special chance to encounter the creatures of twilight as dusk approaches the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon.
On Earth Day – Saturday 22 April – there will be nature-themed activities and stalls on The Square, Barnstaple. An Earth Day weekend celebration will take place on Sunday 23 April at The Landmark Theatre Pavilion, where people are invited to experience some of the fantastic work created by local primary schools, children and families during the project.
The full programme of events is available on the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon’s website. Tickets for bookable events can be found on the Art Tickets website, other than the Mortehoe and Braunton events. Anyone with queries about The Wild Escape in North Devon should email email@example.com.