Gamar – bringing history to life at the British Museum

Yesterday, I was trying to explain to the Wee Man what a Mummy is. As in, the really old type that lie around in museums.

That is not the explanation that I gave him, obviously. But it turns out ‘dead people wrapped in bandages’ doesn’t really help either (also not the EXACT explanation I falteringly and entirely ineloquently gave – I reasoned that it might sound just a bit scary!). I’ve been to the British Museum before, and seen the mummies, and I read all the little plaques that explain them. But the why and the how and the who of it, well, it kind of hasn’t stuck in my brain.

So…how do you get things to stick? To make immobile things sitting around on plinths appealing and memorable to small children with equally small attention spans?

Gamar think they might have come up with the answer.

Their new interactive app in conjunction with the British Museum brings history to life in ‘A Gift for Athena’, turning the Parthenon Galleries from a room full of lifeless statues into a living, breathing historical adventure.

Gamar 11Gamar 8It’s aimed at kids aged around 7, but at 5 even the Wee Man really enjoyed walking around the room and completing all the challenges. Every time he found the correct exhibit, it would be brought to life with a shower of green stars, followed by some child-friendly text explaining the story behind it and perhaps adding graphical details too. He also really enjoyed the various games – a maze and a puzzle game were his favourites – and a trip that otherwise would most likely have been over in a couple of minutes lasted us well over an hour. Since then he’s been full of questions.

Gamar 4 Gamar 6 Gamar 5

And I guess that’s what makes information stick. Being inspired to question, consider and find out more about what you’re seeing…something that an immobile piece of stone can’t always do.

Gamar 10I still don’t know how to explain mummies, and we didn’t go and see them this time either. But Gamar tell me that the app is being developed to allow people to create their own explanatory adventures and use the platform to bring even more history to life (there are already adventures to try at the V&A museum and Maritime Museum too). So it’s entirely possible that in a few months time, we might be able to explore the mummies the same way we explored Athena and the Parthenon Gallery. I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

The Gamar app can be downloaded for android and iOS devices, and it’s free. So is visiting museums. Free + free + fun and educational = win. We’re looking forward to seeing what adventure comes next!


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