The Dragons Den style competition started in the Spring when four schools sent in applications from 14 students aged between 10 to 13 years old to take part. Each was tasked with creating a design of a product which could later be made into the item and sold at Maidstone Museum.
Many of the students visited the Museum to be inspired by the fantastic exhibits and to see the type of items already on sale in the shop. Once all the designs were submitted staff at the Museum had the difficult task of creating a shortlist of applicants who made it through to the finals.
At the end of June 11 groups of finalists and their prototypes came into Maidstone Museum for a ‘dragons’ den’ style presentation to a group of judges. The panel were looking at the innovation of the designs, how sustainable the design was, the practicality of the item and if the products were affordable.
Out of the 11 brilliant designs, four runners’ up and a first-place winner were picked.
Cllr Claudine Russell, Cabinet Member for Communities, Leisure and Arts said:
“This has been a really wonderful competition and a great way to encourage a love of history and design in our young people. The standard of designs has been so high, the judges were all astounded by the confidence of the presenters and by the innovation of their products. A huge thank you to everyone who entered and a massive well done to the winning entries.”
One of the judges Guy MacDonald from Maidstone Museums’ Foundation Education Trustee added:
“We have been blown away by how high the standard has been of everyone who entered and we felt quite honoured to be involved in this competition and see such original designs.”
First place has been awarded to Etty Winser, from Wrotham School, who created a museum exhibit themed, eco-friendly ruler. The runners up were Museum themed keyrings by Corey Walters from Wrotham School; Japanese inspired hair combs by Evie Little from Maidstone Grammar School for Girls; a Japanese themed storage box by Max Newby from Wrotham School and a Japanese inspired tote bag by Nkengbeza, Sonika, Diana and Hannah from Highsted Grammar School.
In September, all the students who entered the competition, parents, teachers, judges and members of Maidstone Museums’ Foundation are invited to attend a ceremony where certificates will be presented to the winning students. The school of the winning product receives £200 from Maidstone Museums’ Foundation and the school of each runner up receives £50.
“Each winner will also produce ten items of their product to be sold in the Museum shop which is a great achievement for them and will hopefully inspire their future career choices. One of our key aims is to raise the skills levels and earning potential of our residents, we hope by partnering with the Maidstone Museums’ Foundation we will be helping to do this.”
The judging panel was made up of Guy MacDonald, Maidstone Museums’ Foundation Education Trustee; Alexandra Conn-White, Operations Supervisor and Ella Price Visitor Experience Officer both from Maidstone Museum.
For more information about Maidstone Museums' Foundation please visit: https://maidstonemuseumsfriends.org.uk
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