What Happens When 69 Children Curate a Fine Art Exhibit?

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Medieval art at the National Museum in Warsaw / Monika

March 22, 2016; Smithsonian

At the National Museum in Warsaw, which is known for its ancient and modern art, the staff recently turned over curation of an exhibit, called “Anything Goes,” to 69 kids between the ages of six and 14. The selection of the children was simple—first come, first served—and after that, the staff had only to implement their decisions, as the children chose the pieces and developed audio guides and materials.

The museum says that much of the art the children selected from the museum’s extensive vaults had never previously been on display. “The children said that they found and liberated [the pieces] from the museum’s storeroom,” they write, and the result is eclectic but organized into six sections, described as follows by Smithsonian Magazine:

A forest entirely devoted to animals that features mummies and 20th-century art; “Dance of the Minotaur,” a labyrinth-like segment that includes a kid-produced interpretation of the myth; the “ghost room,” which features some of the museum’s most disturbing and creepy pieces; “Playing the Hero,” which looks at 32 kid-selected heroes and features a huge multimedia crossword puzzle designed by the kid curators; “Treasure Trove,” which puts together a dizzying ensemble of fancy jewels and rare objects; and “Changes,” which pairs fashion with art and even encourages other kids to try on vintage garments for themselves.

—Ruth McCambridge