I was asked to design and illustrate two trails related to the National Museum Cardiff’s Treasures archaeology exhibition by the Learning Department – both designed to increase the enjoyment and engagement of young visitors and their families.
The first trail was to be a full colour 16 page coming-and-going (one side Welsh, the other English) A5 booklet called Treasures. It features photographs of some of the exhibits and drawings of hieroglyphs, roman tombstones and, naturally, Indiana Jones’ hat and whip (the star exhibits, which attracted a lot of media attention upon opening). I created loose and lively hand-inked drawings for children to colour in, add to, or whatever they feel like doing. The biggest piece was a border that ran all the way around the centre spread. I chose a simple colour palette based on the logo created for the exhibition and had fun with it.
Simple illustrations for learning
The second piece was a 4 page A4 coming-and-going which highlighted treasures in the museum that people might otherwise just walk past. There’s a quiz for young visitors to complete. Here once again I used hand drawn and inked illustrations but this time left them black and white.
The idea behind both trails is to encourage children and their families to look more closely at what’s being shown, to prompt observation, discussion, curiosity and speculation. We compare artefacts from different cultures and ask young visitors what they think they might be for, whether they can crack codes and what they think might be the relics of our civilisation. I wish such guides were available when I was visiting museums as a child. The best thing of all is seeing how children respond to the work I’ve done with excitement and imagination. It’s wonderfully rewarding work and I love doing it!
The exhibition runs until 30th October 2016.