Making History Matter for Children: DiMenna Children’s History Museum
This is the DiMenna Children’s History Museum kids’ history detective’s clubhouse. It serves as home base for the games we created as part of the DiMenna Children’s History Museum website children’s section. The three games are Sloppy Copy, Dutch New-York and Chasing Liberty, each described in their own post if you follow the links.
The pre-teen characters Anna and Chance and dog Liberty (his backstory provided in the Chasing Liberty post) were all rigorously tested with actual target aged kids as part of our character development process. The clubhouse decor and furnishings were also tested and in some cases, invented by kids themselves. The time machine for example was an idea from my then 7-year-old son, and his proposal came complete with a concept sketch of what it should look like and an explanation of how it would work. We followed these instructions to the letter. Kids, in effect, were our collaborators and not just test subjects. We did this at various points in the process, and while it was not optimal in terms of efficiency, it was tremendously useful in giving it authenticity to the tastes of kids in the target age group. It also made the process more fun.