During the project the museum carried out evaluation of what the participants thought about it. On this page are some quotes and observations from the report.
Impact on the participants
A key objective for the performance project was for the participants to become aware of the local history of their towns and villages a hundred years ago and gain an understanding of Palestine’s history up to the present day. The majority of young people involved in The Plough Youth Theatre Juniors said that they had gained new local and global knowledge as part of the project. Here’s what some of them said:
- ‘I knew they were religious but it surprised me how much’
- ‘It’s made me think more about soldiers and their background’
- ‘We found out that the war spread far and wide and also took part in Palestine where Jesus had been’
- ‘It has helped me want to find out about people around the world’
Their parents also learnt new things about the First World War, engaging with the history through the activities of their children:
- ‘It has made me more aware of what the local men went through 100 years ago’
- ‘How…it was for men coming from farming backgrounds to the war with death around them’
- ‘Brilliant project, very proud my son was involved. Thank you for the opportunity’
One of the museum researchers attended a handling session with The Plough Youth Theatre Juniors, and was particularly impressed:
- ‘…engaging with them in a spontaneous and previously unexplored, unrehearsed way was mind blowing for me and a very new, enjoyable and effective experience for the young people. Their individual response was way beyond anything I could have imagined.’
A film of the drama production was screened in the village where one of the soldiers had lived. One local person wrote:
- ‘I was deeply moved by the children in the film trying to portray what the soldiers would have felt like’
Impact for the museum
The Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon is the regional local authority museum and containing mainly social history and decorative art collections. It also holds the collections of the Royal North Devon Yeomanry, and the project enabled the museum to bring these to a wider audience. It also enabled the museum to add items to the collection.
It’s easy for organisations to forget that other people in the area have the same interests and objectives, so this project helped the museum to forge links with community history groups including the Beaford Archive and the Langtree Local History Group.