Japanese collection inspired Discover in a Day at Maidstone Museum

Japanese collection inspired Discover in a Day at Maidstone Museum

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BY: Guest Writer
03 Feb 2020

This week we hear from Roz Meredith, Learning and Events Officer at Maidstone Museum, about their fantastic ‘Discover in a Day’ approach to delivering a Japanese food themed project.

Maidstone Museum is a local government run museum with high aspirations. In the Learning Team we offer a range of workshops and activities in term time and holidays and this includes a regular offer of Arts Awards. We focus on Arts Award Discover as a way of inspiring children and young people to try out something new. Our offer is open to schools, groups and families. We run a family ‘Discover in a Day’ (DIAD) twice a year on a theme linked to an exhibition, artist or new partnership.

DIAD Japanese drawing Manga  (1)Our approach

We began offering Arts Award thanks to funding from Arts Council England, and our offer has evolved over the past few years. We cover a range of themes including; Egyptians, Greeks, WW1, WW2, Animals and Dinosaurs, connected to the permanent collections within the museum as well as one off themes linked to temporary exhibitions. We have worked with various artists including Graham Clarke, on one off Arts Award projects. Our latest is the Japanese Food themed award in partnership with Wagamama, Maidstone. We have partnered with them for other events including a Japanese Day and our ‘Museum Lates’ events. This time we looked at how Manga art helps to inspire food creation and design. We offered it as a family DIAD and linked it with the museums highly praised Japanese collection.

A few years ago, we created a model to ensure all elements of Arts Award Discover are covered in a day. There are slight differences between a school’s day and a family day. The schools complete the sharing elements of the award back at their school whereas the family days are entirely completed in the museum.

Our Japanese Day was spilt into five sessions:

In session one the families found out from the team at Wagamama how they designed their foods as well as the inspiration behind the whole concept, and the artistic nature of food presentation. What’s more, we all got to try some too!

In session two the families came back to the museum and explored our Japanese collection, focusing on the artist Hokusai and his print ‘The Great Wave’. The participants then took inspiration from both the Wagamama food and the gallery artefacts and sketched, doodled, wrote and photographed ideas for their own artworks, covering Part B.

DIAD Japanese printing t-shirts (7)Session three focused on experimenting with art and different types of printing, inspired by their ideas from session two.

During session four, for Part A of Discover, the children brought together all their ideas to create a design which could be printed on a t-shirt.

The final session was all about sharing and each child created a mini exhibition of their artwork at their tables. Each of them presented what they had created, what inspired them, and what they’d change or do next to the rest of the group, for their Part C.

Throughout the day, the children were encouraged to add ideas, notes, research, doodles, pictures and magazine cuttings to their Arts logs. Before the children leave we present them with a museum certificate of participation in Discover in a Day.


Overall Discover in a Day is not only impactful for its duration it has a lasting effect; schools use the activity as part of their art evidence for OFSTED, families use their arts log as a record of the day and our Arts Award is also used by Kent Children’s University as credits on their passports. As well as these hard outcomes, the children and young people walk away inspired by the project and enthusiastic about trying something new.

For more details about this and our other Discover in a Day Arts Awards contact us at Museumeducation@maidstone.gov.uk

DIAD Japanese Wagamama







Check out Arts Award Discover resources on our Adviser Hub including our Discover A3 map

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