In the 1900’s, Lionel Nathaniel de Rothschild (1882 – 1942) kept Flamingos as pets in the grounds of his home in Gunnersbury Park.
So when I was commissioned to create a new Early Years’ series of workshops and resources for babies and toddlers for Gunnersbury Park Museum, choosing a Flamingo as a mascot for the programme seemed like a natural fit.
Flamingos are inquisitive, friendly and playful and I thought it would be great to ask the children to be ‘like flamingos’ and explore and discover the museum themselves.
From April – June I worked on devising, developing and producing a new set of Early Years’ resources and activities at Gunnersbury Park Museum for families with babies and toddlers called the ‘Little Flamingos Club’.
Gunnersbury Park Museum is a local history museum for the London Boroughs of Ealing and Hounslow, housed in a Grade II listed mansion in the middle of Gunnersbury Park. The estate has strong historic signiﬁcance having been owned and developed as private country estates by both Princess Amelia (daughter of King George II) in the 18th century and Baron Lionel de Rothschild and his family in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, before ﬁnally becoming a public park and collection in 1926. The museum’s diverse collections provide an insight into the heritage and culture of Ealing, Hounslow and the surrounding areas as well as offer an opportunity to explore the historic rooms, used by the Rothschild’s, including the beautiful state rooms of the Drawing Room, Long Gallery and Dining Room and the chance to see the 19th century historic kitchens.
I was commissioned to develop and produce a series of monthly workshops and a set of multi-sensory explorer bags that would help bring the stories of the house, it’s objects and the park to life for babies and toddlers. This became the Little Flamingos Club.
To mark the launch of the newly refurbished and interpreted Gunnersbury Park Museum, we launched the first Little Flamingos workshop in June. The workshops run on the second Wednesday of each month and are held in the historic rooms and galleries as well as in the new purpose built learning spaces. The workshops change theme each month and to date I’ve run sessions including storytelling, singing, painting, dance and music. All the workshops are hosted by the wonderful Flo the Flamingo puppet and facilitated by a fabulous team of artists and facilitators including Holly Dabbs (participatory artist, outdoor educator and storyteller), Olivia Armstrong (storyteller) and Paul Rubinstein (storytelling, music and theatre for children).
I am currently working on finalising the design of the Little Flamingos multi-sensory explorer packs and will post details of the final packs and their contents when they’re ready in September.
In the meantime, if you’d like to find out more about the Little Flamingos programme or Gunnersbury Park Museum in general please go to Gunnersbury Park What’s On.