Kids Takeover

Eight different groups of young people from schools and home educating groups re-curated the display cases in our permanent exhibition, from choosing which objects to show to writing the labels.

As well as showcasing some objects that have never been selected before, our young curators gave a fresh new voice to the M&S story – the whole process was in their hands.

First, we asked pupils to think creatively and use their imagination to interpret the objects without any background information. This meant using observational and creative writing skills, as well as some historical knowledge.

We then sent each group a selection of archive material related to the objects they’d selected. This could be a press release about an exciting new product or a report showing how many we sold of a particular item. Pupils used these primary sources to find factual information about the objects, developing their enquiry and literacy skills. Their research allowed them to write a second label reflecting this new-found knowledge. We turned all the children’s hard work into real-life exhibition displays at the Archive, installing 135 items and 270 labels!

We wanted Kids Takeover to be accessible to everyone, wherever they were, so the research and writing stages of the project took place online. Everyone who was able to travel to the Archive came together to celebrate the opening of the exhibition, which was extremely well received by visitors in the following months.

Here’s a short film we made about the project.