VIDEO: Museum of London to open gallery reinvented by young people

16:40 20 June 2012

Coby Lee, 18, from Islington, holds a replica of a bust of Hadrian from the Our Londinium 2012 exhibition. Picture: David Parry/PA Wire

Coby Lee, 18, from Islington, holds a replica of a bust of Hadrian from the Our Londinium 2012 exhibition. Picture: David Parry/PA Wire

David Parry / PA Wire

The Museum of London will this week open a gallery reinvented by young people for the first time.

Our Londinium 2012 is part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad programme Stories of the World, and is the largest update to the museum’s Roman gallery since it opened in 1994.

The gallery shows parallels between Roman London and the city today, with installations ranging from multimedia displays to rarely seen Roman artefacts.

The young people who curated the exhibition are part of Junction, the youth panel at the museum in London Wall, which the museum says helps people to develop job skills.

David Spence, the attraction’s interim director, said: “Our Londinium 2012 is an impressive project, every single member of Junction should be proud of their achievement.

“It also represents something more important about the function of a modern museum and the role it can play within a community.

“At a time when young people are struggling to find jobs, Junction illustrates how the Museum of London is providing value to the wider community.

“Not only do the members of Junction get a hands-on experience of what it is like to work in a museum, they are able to develop transferable skills such as writing, research and team work which are essential for any job today.

“To know that at least two young people who have participated in the scheme have been offered full time jobs as a result of their participation is a great testament to the project.”

The most important object on display is a bust of Hadrian found on the Thames foreshore, now in the British Museum’s collection. It will be display for six months before being replaced by a replica.

Modern objects including decorative nails from Dalston nail bar WAH Nails will help to demonstrate the similarities and differences between Londinium and London.

The young people from Junction worked closely with Museum of London staff to choose objects, write text panels, commission artworks and appoint Olly Gibbs, the illustrator responsible for the exhibition’s visual identity.

Lucie Fitton, inclusion manager at the Museum of London and co-curator of Our Londinium 2012, said: “Many visitors to the Museum of London want to know what Roman London was really like. Was it very different from London today or more similar than we imagine?

“The answer is a bit of both and that’s what’s great about Our Londinium 2012; as Junction will tell you it’s a fun, engaging way to find this out.”

Junction will continue working with the Museum of London to input into the development of future exhibitions and galleries.

The revamped gallery will open on Friday.

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