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Children's Crafts & Activities

Before museums, collectors would show off strange and wonderful things in their Cabinets of Curiosities. Special objects deserve to be highlighted and cared for wherever they are, so why not give your treasured objects the display and attention they deserve with our free activities. They're suitable for kids and adults!

Create a cabinet of curiosities for your treasures, highlight them in a case or preserve them in a memory box. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see the museum's own displays and remember to take care when handling your treasured items.

Make a cabinet of curiosities

You can make this curiosity cabinet from home using an old cardboard box. Add shelves and compartments of different sizes to your cabinet, decorate your cabinet and display your treasures inside. 

cabinet of curiosities activity outcome
A cardboard box or similar object
Scrap cardboard or sturdy material
Scissors or a craft knife
Tape
Paint of papers to decorate

1. Make your cabinet using an old box or make your own box using either cardboard, wood, plastic or any other sturdy material. How strong and how simple you make your cabinet depends on what you want to display inside.

2. Create shelves for your cabinet and add them to your box. We layered cardboard to create sturdy shelves and glued these into the cabinet. You could also use tape or drill the shelves in if you are using a thicker material.

3. Have fun decorating and filling your cabinet of curiosities! Fill your cabinet with themed objects, things you have collected, toys or other items you enjoy.

Cabinet outcome
close up of cabinet

Highlight your treasures in a lighted display box

This activity uses everyday materials from home. Display your treasured objects under a spotlight or use the lighted display case as a lightbox for photography. You could also join boxes together to make a cabinet but remember to punch holes in the boxes to allow light in.

Craft activity outcome to make a lighted display box with object inside
 Cardboard White paint or paper
Scissors 30cm Ruler
Pencil or pen Glue stick
Tape Smartphone 
Template  

1. Carefully tear open the glued areas of your cereal box or cardboard box and unfold it so it is a flat sheet.

2. Use a ruler and pencil to measure and draw out our template onto the brown side of your flattened cardboard, so you can see your pencil marks. Use a dotted line to mark which lines should be folded and a thick line for lines to be cut out. Go over the pencil with pen once you're happy with your template. 

3. Cut out your shape with scissors or ask an adult to help you. You should have two pieces cut out, the main shape and the square border which will become the front of the box.

Image of cereal box
Template
Image of carboard template cut out

4. Fold your box template following the dotted guidelines. Turn your box over and use glue to cover the patterned side with white paper or paint it white. Cut any excess paper from around the edges. This white side will become the inside of the box.

5. Fold your shape into a box shape, as shown, and tape the edges together from the outside.

6. Tape the seperate square shape onto the front of the box and push a small hole through the top of the box.

Now you can place a small object inside and light it up! Decorate your box with paints, papers or fabrics. Shine your phone light or a flashlight through the hole in the top and be sure to take some photos of your object in it's new display. Try using fairylights or a small bulb to keep your object lit.

complete box shape formed
box shape with hole in the top
Activity outcome photo 2. Artefact in lighted display box

Make a memory box

Make a memory box to store your memories, favourite trinkets or family archives in this simple and quick activity. A memory box can be a great place to keep letters, photos, and other meaningful items. Every memory box is different.

Making your box
Make your own box, use a box around your home or source one online. Why not recycle an old shoebox, delivery box or lunchbox into a memory box? Try to find a box with which you feel a special connection to. If you make your own, we recommend using a thick card or cardboard.

Collecting your memories and treasures
Our ‘create a family archive’ activity can help you find and label your treasured belongings. You can fill the box with personal treasures that relate to a specific trip or time, or you can use the box to store any meaningful items that come into your life. Take photos of your objects if they are large. You can print photos to include or you can save them to a flash or USB drive and put the drive into the box.

Outcome for memory box

Label your memories box
Add a label to your box with your name and what the theme is for the memory box, for example, school or friends. If you want to keep your box private, make a tag that says "Property of [your name]. Do not open!"

Adding your memories
Save the meaningful things that you find or receive over time and put these items into the box for safekeeping. You never know when you'll want to dig them out and remember the past.

Treasure and memory box examples

Send us your own displays and creations to museumandgallery@kettering.gov.uk, we’d love to see them!

Displays from the museum

Our collections and displays are part of what makes the museum and gallery an interesting and unique place to visit. We have a wide range of objects and artworks from our collections on display permanently and temporarily, including archaeology, natural history and historical and contemporary artworks. 

Here are a variety of displays from the museum to inspire you.

Witch Hunt display cabinet at the Museum in 21018

Witch Hunt exhibition at the Museum in 2018

Kettering Co-operatives exhibition at the Museum in 2017

Kettering Co-operatives exhibition at the Museum in 2017

I Love Music: Kettering exhibition at the Museum in 2016

I Love Music: Kettering exhibition at the Museum in 2016

Museum permanent display cabinet

Museum permanent display cabinet

The museum and gallery are now temporarily closed while we start our exciting new redevelopment project GLaM.  Please visit the official GLaM webpage to find out more about what we are doing and how we hope to improve our services in the future.

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