institution: Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten (Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation)
category: Education Program
In 2016, the Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation (SPSG) partnered with Antenna International to conduct a five-day workshop training German schoolchildren in the art of storytelling. The Foundation wanted to provide young visitors with a fun way to learn about both the palace and its history. In the workshop, the schoolchildren made their own radio show about the palace, which was so successful that it is distributed today as an audio guide for young visitors and their parents.
Teaching kids to appreciate history through storytelling + radio production training
A class of 22 schoolchildren, aged 13-14, participated in the workshop at the beautiful site of the Neue Palais or “New Palace” in Potsdam, Germany. The workshop combined historical information on the Neue Palais – the most glamorous palace of Prussian King Frederic the Great in Potsdam (near Berlin), the architectural details of the 18th century Rococo-style, and technical skills training in the art of storytelling, interviewing, and radio production.
Producing a radio show
Storytelling, scriptwriting, interviewing techniques, recording, and voiceover training were some of the many technical skills taught in the workshop. With these new skills under their belts, the “seasoned” participants decided to produce a radio show on the palace. Their next step was to analyze various radio formats – from panel discussions to interviews, to “news flash” approaches, to weather and traffic reports, as well as commercials. These were all applied to the palace story.
SPSG-Radio – the Special Palace Super Guide!
This workshop didn’t just place students “in the shoes of a radio producer,” they were the radio producers. They decided which stories should be communicated, in which format, and conducted all their own interviews with various experts such as curators, historians, and restorers. The kids produced a fantastic, lively, and rich program, even composing a jingle for the “SPSG-Radio – the Special Palace Super Guide!” (SPSG stands for the Foundation’s German name, Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten).
On the last day of the workshop, the class spent the day in a recording studio, acting as voice-over talent, and narrating their own scripts. The result of this workshop was an audio guide for kids made by kids.
“A Really Colorful Kaleidoscope”
“The result is a very varied audio guide that is not a regular audio guide in the true sense of the word, but a radio show,” Silke Hollender, Head of Education at the SPSG explains. “We have focused on the radio show format and now we have presenters, live-bloggers, traffic reports…and there are various stories, even a little time travel, where court ladies gossip about Frederic the Great. So it’s like a really colorful kaleidoscope, that covers many of the themes in the exhibition.”
The final tour was uploaded to actual on-site audio players, which are distributed today for free to young visitors and their parents, to much acclaim.