Brigham Young University’s newest summer camp is a little less Boy Scouts and a little more Night at the Museum.
Museum Camp gives kids between the ages of 13 and 15 the chance to go behind the scenes at the Provo university’s four museums as they learn what goes into creating exhibits, and even curate one of their own.
“The goal is to have fun while you’re learning,” said Kari Nelson, curator of education at the Museum of Peoples and Cultures.
Students rotate between the Museum of Peoples and Cultures, the Museum of Art, the Museum of Paleontology and the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum throughout the week-long day camp.
Throughout the week, they’ll get opportunities like working with paleontologists in the lab and seeing a live animal show.
The camp, the first of its kind at BYU, started this week and will have a second set of students attend next week.
Nelson said the idea for the camp has been considered for several years. While it’s hosted by the Museum of Peoples and Cultures, she said those in charge wanted to involve all four museums on campus in order to appeal to a variety of interests.
At their age, the campers don’t get to take many field trips in school anymore. While at the camp, they’re able to see what goes into researching and putting together an exhibit.
“It’s fun for them to see a museum from beyond a visitor’s point of view,” Nelson said.
The students will be able to curate their own exhibit using real artifacts stored at the Museum of Peoples and Cultures. They’ll also learn things like how to make safe mounts for artifacts to protect items from being damaged by earthquakes.
As they visited the Museum of Art on Monday, the students learned about the small details that go into making an exhibit, from what color the walls are painted to what the lighting is like.
“I think people don’t think about the reasons people put paintings in a certain order,” said Jessica Simpson, a graduate student studying archaeology with a museum certificate who worked with the campers.
Janalee Emmer, head of education at the Museum of Art, said most people don’t know about all the work and research that goes into putting on an exhibit.
“I think it was fun for them to see all of those elements coming together,” she said.