Figuring Out the Figurine - creative approaches to the collection

The programme is a close collaboration between Cyprus Museum’s Department of Antiquities and the Museum Education Department of the Ministry of Education and Culture. It focuses on Cyprus Museum’s rich collection of figurines and was designed for primary school children aged 10 to 11 years old (4th grade).

The children figure out riddles to receive further information or find clues. © Ministry of Education and Culture

Through the programme, participants learn about stone and terracotta figurines dating from the Neolithic period up to Roman times and discover how to recognise the differences between figurines and sculptures. Children start by “travelling back in time” with a visit to the museum’s storerooms, which act as a tunnel into the past. This experience gives them access to an otherwise inaccessible part of the museum.

The journey then unfolds in the museum’s exhibition rooms, with children searching for clues and information through games, riddles and various challenges that require group activities, observation and comparison of objects. Their task is to figure out which figurine they are searching for among the museum’s exhibits.

Participants are also invited to guess what the functions of the figurines were in antiquity, basing their suggestions on the exhibits themselves as well as various archaeological interpretations offered by the programme’s educators. They then enact these various functions through role-playing, as well as discussing how the figurine evolved as a votive object up to the present day.

Finally, the programme touches upon issues concerning archaeological collections that have been divided and are now exhibited in more than one museum; for example, how the  ancient sanctuary of Ayia Irini on Cyprus holds one half of its collection, with the other half held in the Medelhavsmuseet (Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities) in Stockholm.

Cyprus Museum online

About "Figuring Out the Figurine" (Idolio to Dolio)

This projects presented in NEMO's publication "Museums' 4 Values - Values 4 Museums" to show how museums make their objects and knowledge about them accessible through engaging activities.