About the project
Going on a treasure hunt will evoke happy memories of childhood for many people. We were therefore very excited when we secured funding to launch our very own Treasure Hunt which involves children with autism and their families visiting museums, and other places, searching for treasure. The idea for the project came from a group of families that took part in our Heritage Short Break in the autumn of 2019 (link). Following the success of the trip to the Suffolk coast, they wanted to continue working with us to make artwork inspired by London’s places of culture.
Like the rest of our work, this particular treasure hunt is being conducted from home (sharing via Zoom, WhatsApp and post) until public institutions re-open and are safe to visit. In the first three months, the children and their families have created a story of the treasure hunt which is being turned into an animated film with the help of animator Shelly Wain (link) and composer William Carslake (link). The storyline was inspired by the menagerie of animals gifted to the Kings and Queens of England that for several centuries was housed in the Tower of London (link). When it closed, in Victorian times, the animals were moved to the newly opened London Zoo. But what might have happened if the animals went on a treasure hunt instead? Clues to where the treasure lies, are hidden in museums along the way. Where will it lead them?
Each of the children taking part has chosen or created their own animal, including some wonderfully creative combinations, such as Sandy, the bear/flamingo/peacock. It seemed only natural that the animals would travel from place to place on London double-decker bus! View the film to find out what happens at each of the museums and how the story ends (link to film). The underlying message of Treasure Hunt is that ‘treasure’ is not always something concrete, it can also be found in self-discovery and a sense of acceptance. We are very grateful to The City Bridge Trust, Arts Council England and The National Lottery for supporting this project.