The Uffizi Gallery in Florence has unveiled its latest project, #UffiziKids, during the past weekend, introducing a new scheme aimed at engaging younger audiences. This initiative brings forth 40 specially trained personnel dedicated to guiding children through the museum’s extensive collections.

Despite being Italy’s top attraction, the Uffizi Gallery experienced a significant drop in visitation numbers, plunging from 4.4 million in 2019 to just 1.2 million last year, with a mere 1,150 of those visits involving children.

Following its reopening post-lockdown in May, the gallery expanded its display to the public with the introduction of 14 newly refurbished rooms on the first floor, showcasing 129 pieces of art, many of which were previously unseen by the public.

As part of this new venture, the reception team, easily identified by their UffiziKids smiley face logo badges, will offer additional insights into the museum’s collections and recommended routes, focusing on the vast array of Renaissance masterpieces within its walls.

Guides for children will also wear badges adorned with the smiley face logo, serving as a friendly and knowledgeable resource for young visitors and their guardians. The museum aims to become a vital resource for those who value the importance of early exposure to cultural heritage in the development and education of young minds, fostering a sense of individuality and civic responsibility.

With the introduction of the #UffiziKids program, the gallery is set on attracting a younger demographic, hoping to inspire a lifelong appreciation for the arts.

“Making art a normal part of life for children is our goal, ensuring that they grow up with the notion that visiting a museum is as simple and natural as visiting the city itself,” stated Silvia Mascalchi, head of the Uffizi’s Education Department.

In addition to their existing roles, the newly appointed staff members, who began their duties on Friday, will focus on providing a warm welcome and oversight.

This week also marks the opening of “Growing up in Ancient Rome,” an exhibition tailored to young visitors, featuring over 30 artworks, including toy sculptures of deities from millennia past, exploring themes of daily life for children during the Roman Empire.

The exhibition, designed with both adults and children in mind, includes elements like simplified descriptions, comic strips, and artwork displayed at a child-friendly height. Visitors can also engage with ancient Roman games in the Boboli Gardens.

Launching in close proximity to World Children’s Day on November 20, the exhibition underscores the Uffizi’s commitment to acknowledging the artistic relevance of younger audiences. “This day should transcend mere ceremonial observance,” noted Uffizi director, Eike Schmidt. “At the Uffizi, we seize this opportunity to cater to an often-overlooked demographic, affirming that art is not exclusively for adults. This exhibition serves as a bridge connecting young visitors to the historical experiences of their counterparts across centuries.”

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