Putting the ‘Family’ into Irish Family History Centre
I’m delighted to be sharing our new series of events for young families, kicking off this Spring and carrying right through to Christmas (that’s a scary thought!)
Children are never too young to be involved in family history and what it means to be a family - no matter what shape or size it is - and it is so important for them to have something they can look back on and share with future generations. I don’t know about you but I always feel a buzz of nostalgia and excitement when I rummage through my old childhood art-work, from the illegible scribbles to the carefully crafted Christmas decorations which are still on the tree over 25 years later.
When putting together our family events, what has been really important for me is ensuring that each workshop connects to the important but basic concepts of family history. Themes such as identity, a sense of place, diversity, and activities like recording and sharing, are all hugely important in the field of family history and really can be introduced at any age. The events aim to encourage people to get creative and explore these concepts with their little ones, whether they want handprint mementos, or the more abstract Jackson Pollock-esque canvases of toddlers.
These workshops aim to show that family history is just as much about making memories, as it is about chasing them.
Our Pitter Patter & Paint baby and toddler handprint sessions are proving very popular, with parents looking for a creative space to bond with their babies but also have something special to remember in the years to come. We’ll be making handprint family trees and an assortment of nature-inspired designs for Spring.
This May we are getting on board with Bealtaine, a festival that celebrates creativity from the very young to the very old! In our Grandparents and Growers art workshop, children and their grandparents will decorate a terracotta plant pot together, to show off and share their family roots. Families will also be provided with a bulb to plant at home.
Pitter Patter & Paint will be running again for a special Father’s Day event, to celebrate the dads and grandads in our family trees!
For Halloween we are welcoming a hands-on ‘Family Memory Makers: Mix & Make’ session to make salt dough Halloween decorations from scratch, for ages 4+. We’ll be getting our wooden spoons and mixing bowls ready! This will be followed by a papercraft session to make family trees, featuring, of course, the spooky ghosts of ancestors from long, long ago!
November and December
Jumping into the festive season, from November we’ll be kicking off another round of Pitter Patter & Paint workshops, the perfect time to make hand-made Christmas presents with a personal touch! There are five in total, running November and December, and they really are a lovely way to create some new family traditions and sentimental gifts.
We’ll be running another Christmas-themed ‘Mix and Make’ workshop to make salt-dough tree decorations, but instead of spooky family trees, children will be making pop-up Christmas family tree cards.
What I really love about working with children is their sense of pride and place, without perhaps even realising it at the time. I notice it in the information they choose to scribble on to their art-work. ‘I am 5 and ¾ and I was born on this date and I am from this house, in this village, in this place.’ If only our ancestors made it this easy for us!
Children are also naturally creative, naturally curious, and unrivalled storytellers - all transferrable skills required to be researchers or family historians! If we can encourage this from an early age, and foster this interest amongst family members as well, we are doing something right.
You can view all of our events on our Eventbrite profile by clicking here.
If you have any questions about the above events, or if you would like us to run a similar event in your library, museum or centre, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Claire Murray
By Caitlin Bain
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