Last updated: 19 October 2016
During the museum's transformation staff have had the opportunity to trial new and unique activities. Learning Officer Sam Doty explains how one project proved that peas can be fun.
Pea race at the RBKC Play Day
The Learning team worked with the Play Service and Early Years Service in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) on a programme of fun, informal engagement activities across the borough. To deliver the programme we partnered with the Bureau of Silly Ideas (BOSI), to produce a roadshow based on simple learning outcomes about the Army and the Museum’s collection.
We wanted to bring together a range of fun activities to encourage teamwork, communication and skills development. BOSI introduced us to the ‘Peas Corps’ with its own distinctive uniform and rank structure, its mission statement is to preserve world Peas.
Over two weeks in the summer, a pea-themed assault course rolled up to a variety of play centres and family fun days run by RBKC. BOSI facilitators Colonel Penelopea and Private Peater Peaterson, supported by Museum staff and volunteers, delivered a series of high-energy sessions to groups of children aged 2 to 12 years. There were lots of pea-related activities as well as lots and lots of pea-related puns.
The high point for most of the participants was the pea race. Carrying a tray of pea green foam balls, the barefoot children had to pick their way through the huge bowl of garden peas, the pool of ice cold frozen peas and the slippery, slime-filled pit of mushy peas. It was hilarious and so much fun.
At the RBKC Play Day all of the centres we had visited over the programme came together for a brilliant day, and lots of the children sought us out to have another go!
One boy asked: ‘What’s this got to do with the Army?’ as he wiped green goo off his feet. It didn’t take much prompting for him to realise he had just used many of the skills and attributes a soldier might face – teamwork, courage, determination and resourcefulness.
The light-hearted, fun approach of the Peas Corps helped break down a lot of barriers in perception about what an Army museum might be about and what it might want to communicate to young people. This outreach programme gave us an opportunity to talk to a wide range of people about the Museum, its content and mission; people who hadn’t visited and probably weren’t going to – until now.
It was a great project: fun, engaging and appealing to new and diverse audiences. My one regret? I didn’t get a chance to shed my official black Museum shirt and don the greenest of green Peas Corps uniform. Ah well. Maybe next time?