During 2014 – 15 Manchester Museum undertook two Happy Museum projects aiming to investigate and embed playfulness in their museum practice.  The first project trained the museum’s visitor team to develop their understanding of play and reflection techniques. In the second project, the museum developed Rules for a Playful Museum, a playful and accessible handbook to capture the learning and experience of their experiments in playfulness.

Rules for a Playful Museum celebrates and promotes play in our shared public, cultural space and sets down some key ideas for changing or improving museum and gallery approaches towards play.  It is a beautiful A6 book ethically printed on textured, recycled paper using soya based riso inks.  You can also order free copies (while stocks last) for your museum or staff teams.  Email Anna Bunney at Manchester Museum anna.bunney@manchester.ac.uk

Read a Case Study of the Playful Museum project or check out further resources, articles and sources on our Resources on Play page.  You can also join in with our blog about the rules for a playful museum.


Please do share your stories on our blog, or tweet stories and images using #playful museum. For further information about the book or the project, you can contact Anna  and co-author Charlotte Derry – weareplayful@playfulplaces.co.uk  

Click here for further Resources on Play

Evaluation snapshot

Highlights of this project included the creation of the ‘rulebook’ (an aesthetic and ethical product) the creation of which prompted unexpected questions about unwritten rules for play in museum space and engendered genuine coproduction across teams.  The challenges included giving everyone a genuine voice and integrating the theme into wider Manchester Museum developments.