Highgate Primary pupils become mini art experts at Kenwood House takeover day

Primary school pupils from Highgate became “mini experts” in art history for a day as they headed to Kenwood House to tell visitors about the historic building’s famous masterpieces.

Ten and 11-year-olds from Highgate Primary School in Storey Road stood beside paintings on show at the 18th century house at Hampstead Heath on Thursday so they could tell visitors all about the artistic works.

About 60 pupils from Year 5 told more than 400 visitors about the history of the paintings as well as offering their own opinions on the art.

“They came and saw [the art] a few weeks ago, chose their paintings and then went back to school to do lots of research on them,” said Kirsty Pattison, education co-ordinator at Kenwood House.

“They became mini experts on that painting. It was very impressive.”

The takeover day was part of a national scheme, which aims to make museums and galleries more family-friendly.

Highgate Primary pupils first greeted visitors at the door by handing out leaflets about the “takeover day”.

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The children then told visitors what they had learned about the paintings, with one man remarking that he had learned a lot about the Anglo-Dutch wars from one of the youngsters.

Two boys stationed besides Romney’s The Spinstress, a portrait of a woman using a non-mechanical spinning wheel, told guests about the industrial revolution, which took place shortly after the work was created.

Ms Pattison added: “Everyone thought it was really good and a really lovely idea. As people were leaving, I could hear them saying that they had only spoken to the children.

“It went fantastically and it was really well-received. It’s definitely something we want to do again next year.”