Ice breaker – Home at the museum

Ice breaker – Home at the museum

By Emilie Sitzia

MA in Arts and Heritage

Objective statement / Intended effect of the tool

Ice breaker

  1. Way of re-embodying the digital
  2. Practice storytelling about object
  3. Stimulate bodily empathy/imagination group feeling (doing something together, well-being)
  4. Make students realise bodies matter to learners/audiences in terms of
  • memorization,
  • empathy,
  • etc…
  1. understand violence of museification processes/re-narration for donor of objects/source communities

  • Everyone brings an object that is precious/important to them (can be done online)
  • Each student describes why this object matters and focuses on sensory description and storytelling (usually very personal)
  • The tutor thanks the students for gifting the objects and proceeds to explain how they will treat the objects for conservation and what exhibition project they can include the objects in. [for example a grand-mother’s ivory jewelry box will be in an exhibition about illegal ivory trade, the dog will need to be stuffed for conservation purpose, etc]
  1. Then follows a discussion on our attachment to object, the importance of the sensory and narrative dimension and the violence of museification processes/re-narration for donor of objects/source communities
Course specific or not 

Is originally designed for MA Arts and Heritage (Arts and Audiences elective) but could be applied to when the aim is to learn about observation and narrative skills / creation of group feeling/ understanding violence of museification processes and re-narration.

Target group specific or not 

Master’s students but might be possible with Bachelor’s too

When do you use it? 

When training observation and narration skills and creating group feeling (especially online).

When trying to explain issues of museification, repatriation, re-narration of object

To help build/identify (sensory) empathy to clarify our relation to objects

Why do you use it? (Pedagogical approach)

Stimulate bodily empathy/imagination

Activate sensory sensitivity

Group connection

Additional biblio sources