I volunteer as a ‘Family Helper’ at Nottingham Contemporary. I help families who are visiting the gallery and provide them with information about the activities during the summer holidays. This summer my family and I visited other museums and galleries in the city to see what they offered families. We chose to visit Nottingham Castle and Lakeside Gallery and travelled by bus to both venues.
Nottingham castle is located on Friar Lane, Nottingham, near Maid Marian Way and roughly takes five to ten minutes walk. Buses are easy transport when getting there because the bus operates every five to ten minutes. The bus you need to catch to get to Lakeside Gallery is the number 13 or 14. This bus reaches your destination leaving you less than five minutes walk from the bus stop.
When we reached Nottingham Castle, we instantly saw the beauty of it. The scenery is wonderful and a beauty to see, and there is a mixture of wildlife. What I and my family enjoy about it is that there are different trees of every type and shape, and how the flowers are looked after with care, it really makes the castle stand out. The 'Long Gallery,' has a lot of paintings from the early years. The paintings were mostly portraits of women but there were a few abstract pieces. There were activities laid out on a table which really suits the children's age group, 3-11. The activities were, 'Spot the Difference,' and different hunts and quizzes. The gallery gave us additional information to help us. We then entered the rooms, 'Living in Silk,' and, 'Unravelled,' which shows stunning collections of Chinese silk garments and accessories. There were different Chinese cultural dresses, and there was also a huge model of an old sewing machine that has been used by the Chinese textile workers. The sewing operator was very interesting; it made us think of how technology in art creates such precious garments and dresses. We loved the colours and the traditional outfits that the Chinese wore.
In contrast, Lakeside Gallery is modern and the building is near to Nottingham University. The art that is displayed in the gallery is constantly changing and there is a lot of modern art. There was a sophisticated model. It was so abstract and interesting, it left us completely clueless. In the second room there was a model of three fluffy balls, attached to one another. What was interesting about it was that it was covered in human hair which was taken from the salon/barber. Not all the art in the gallery is modern, there are some old pieces dating back to the Anglo-Saxons, Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, etc. There were quizzes which asked us to find things and do mini word searches. This kept us entertained. We really enjoyed the practical activities like creating a mosaic picture using colourful blocks.
In the end we enjoyed ourselves and we have learned a lot of things, especially on history and art. This really helped us and gave us a better understanding of Nottingham in the olden era. It was a great opportunity for the family to visit these places, especially during the holidays.