Phub Dem

What began as a small art club in Woochu Lower Secondary School (WLSS) years ago has today given birth to Bhutan Children’s Museum.

It is a community-based programme in Paro.

Gyelsay Trulku Jigme Tenzin Wangpo inaugurated the children’s museum, coinciding with the birth anniversary of His Majesty the third Druk Gyalpo on May 2.

Tashi Wangmo, who initiated the programme, teaches art education at WLSS. She said that the small museum’s focus was on a child-centred learning environment that supports diverse families in nurturing their children’s creativity and curiosity.

The museum is temporarily located near the bridge in Bonday. She said that she was looking for a bigger and ideal space.

With minimal engagement programmes for children in the community and an increasing number of students showing interest in the art club, the museum best fit the need.

According to Tashi Wangmo, introducing the Art Education curriculum as a regular subject across all schools encouraged many students to take up art and crafts as an alternative recreational activity.

Riding on her art and crafts exhibition experience in 2018 and participating in a children’s museum arts training in Japan, Tashi Wangmo planned to start the museum.

She says that museums are ideal spaces for young children as exhibitions and programmes stimulate informal learning experiences.

She said that the exchange of artwork worldwide had the potential to widen children’s awareness and academic achievement.

Bhutan Children’s Museum will conduct drawing, sketching, colouring and craft classes every weekend and organise art talks and art camps.

Apart from organising art exhibitions, the museum also looks forward to inviting artists to conduct art classes and share their skills.

Trashi Ongmo said that the museum would also invite other schools to organise exhibitions and field trips.

The museum is expected to allow children to explore and try hands-on activities, and explore creative projects for experiential learning and social interaction. It also aims to provide schools and families with recreational outlets.

She said that the museum would unplug the children from addictive electronic gadgets. “Both parents and children can engage in arts and crafts activities.”

Without financial support, she said that the museum should self-sustain through the sale of artworks.

An art enthusiast herself, Tashi Wangmo said that she would encourage other dzongkhags to open up one such museum for the benefit of children.