Museum of London gets out and about on its Play Cycles

Just because the Museum of London In the City is closed while moving from Barbican to West Smithfield doesn’t mean it is inactive. Rather the reverse.

On Friday and Saturday last week the Museum launched Play Cycles “a new pop-up play programme bringing free, drop-in family-friendly play and art activities for all ages to parks, street fairs and community spaces near you”.

I dropped-in to the Smithfield Rotunda Garden to find cargo bikes re-designed by NOOMA Studio as Broadcaster, Explorer and Companion, with one providing a pop-up bar. Soft drinks free.

The Playcycles will be out and about in the City and Islington over the summer with free fun things to do.

“Activities include loose parts play, arts and crafts activities, music making, storytelling, or the chance to relax with a cup of tea and make friends over a board game or craft session. Dress for mess!”

Creative Producer Sammy Maitland gave me a pop-up interview to explain more:

After uploading I thought I would try getting a transcript summary from the Notta AI app … and I think it did rather well. I’ll check with Sammy if we’ve missed anything.

“Play Cycles involves cargo bikes adapted with different themes, such as the Explorer for arts and crafts, the Broadcaster for audio and music, and the Companion for rest and relaxation. This is part of the museum’s Neighbourhoods programme, which aims to engage with local communities through activities like community tours, open house festivals, and a temporary community space. The programme also includes a health and well-being strand called Flourishing Neighbourhoods, building relationships with communities near the new museum site and developing initiatives that will be part of the new museum when it opens in 2026”.

The Museum’s website provides details of some upcoming Play Cycles events, including Whitecross Street Party on Jul 13 and 14, and Guildhall Art Gallery on August 10 2024.

The Neighbourhood programme is funded by the City Corporation, and is part of the £650,000 “cultural transformation” of Smithfield that I wrote about last year, while also floating the idea of a Museum of the Streets.

While the City Museum may be closed, the associated Museum of Dockands is very much open, currently with Fashion City inviting you to “step into an East End tailor’s and a Carnaby Street boutique at the height of the Swinging Sixties, where every stitch tells a unique story”.

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