At 6.30pm on a regular Saturday evening the National Media Museum’s galleries would be tucked in for bed. But not so on 21 November. 71 Brownies and Guides from various troupes came marching through the doors, sleeping bags and teddy bears in hand, to prepare for a sleepover.
I was fortunate enough to be one of the staff members that would be sleeping alongside them on the floor of our galleries. Yes, actually on the floor and not sneaking off to a cosy, quiet office once the little cherubs were fast asleep!
At their first workshop of the evening, the group were charged with recording a TV advert for the museum, using the Museum’s video cameras. Excitement was paramount as the campers had the entire place to themselves; there was more than one giddy Brownie running about! All participants successfully managed to capture this energy on film and we had some excellent footage to edit.
Then there was just time for a quick snack and a drink then it was time for workshop number two, an animation workshop where the children had the opportunity to recreate Morph. All worked together brilliantly to create fun animations and there was definitely an appreciation for the work which goes into stop-motion films like Wallace and Gromit.
After the second workshop it was time for bed. Museum staff that weren’t sleeping over had to bid their fond farewells; there was even a cry of “we’ll miss you Bob” as Bob Harriman, one of the ushers, said his goodbyes.
The campers snuggled down in their sleeping bags and were read a selection of bedtime tales. I chose the slightly disturbing Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes, which provide an alternative version to classic fairytales. I heard more than one snigger when reading “The small girl smiles. One eyelid flickers. She whips a pistol from her knickers” from Little Red Riding Hood.
Despite the earlier excitement the campers must have been pretty tired as they were soon off to the land of nod. As I settled down to sleep in our Experience TV gallery I barely heard a whisper.
Lights were back on at 6.45am and there was no time to roll over for a further snooze. We were up, dressed and heading downstairs for a breakfast of scrambled eggs, baked beans and toast.
Oone moment I found particularly moving that morning (bearing in mind my high state of emotion may have been due to a lack of sleep!) was seeing one girl take her Brownie promise. It was lovely to see all the girls stand in a circle and hear her recite the Brownie code; the new inductee was then presented with a badge and two other Brownies came and grabbed her hands to take her to join the rest of the circle.
Next we settled ourselves down for an IMAX film followed by a prize giving. I admit I struggled to keep my eyes open as Santa vs. The Snowman 3D played.
Finally the sleepover came to a close and there were many glum faces as it was time to get back on the coach. Fortunately a little ray of joy put an end to the sadness as Bob Harriman turned up for his morning shift, to shouts of “yay, Bob’s back!”