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In Your Face: a summer family experience

What does a face say about a person? How do people change their faces to say things about themselves? Do different people see faces in different ways?

The National Media Museum’s summer family experience In Your Face (23 July – 30 October 2016) will be asking these questions and many more as it explores the most photographed, ‘selfied’, examined, and expressive part of the human body through more than 20 different exhibits, activities and experiments.

John O’Shea, senior exhibitions manager at the National Media Museum, said:

“We hope this will be a uniquely fascinating and fun event for families, and we’re including the greatest number of different interactive displays, activities and experiments we’ve ever featured in a summer exhibition, alongside live demonstrations, challenges, and of course, a few opportunities for selfies. It might also lead to one or two discussions about how we see the world and how the world sees us.”

More faces than ever before—of all shapes, sizes and colours—are seen around the world on a daily basis; in newspapers, magazines, social media, advertising, film, and on websites and television. 

Using a wide range of fun challenges, interactive demonstrations, 3D displays, unique portraits from the museum’s collection and examples of the latest facial profiling technology, In Your Face will invite families to look at how people are presented and represented in photographs and on screen.

Visitors can create a facial profile using the latest police technology (courtesy of Leeds University and the University of Central Lancashire); see how they might look with a facial decoration; learn about special effects make-up from the museum’s Hammer Films collection; or trace the influence of the emoji. The show also investigates themes such as representations of beauty, reconstructive and cosmetic surgery, and the values different societies place on faces.

In addition, the museum worked with Changing Faces, a charity working to eliminate discrimination based on physical appearance and promoting ‘face equality’. This partnership looks, in particular, at issues experienced by young people with facial disfigurements.  

Dr James Partridge OBE, Chief Executive of Changing Faces, said:

“We’re delighted to see the National Media Museum focusing on the face in such a considered and wide-ranging way. The face is the first thing we notice in someone and it forms the basis of all our communications, and for those of us with an unusual face it can be challenging.

“This excellent exhibition will help children, young people and their families explore what faces mean, and how we can all embrace face equality, where everyone of every appearance is treated equally.”

Other features of In Your Face include the Before and After project by journalist Esther Honig, who asked photo editors around the world to manipulate her portrait and ‘make me beautiful’, giving an insight into beauty in different cultures, plus Hit It! by Austrian artist Leo Schatzl—an unusual and often amusing installation that invites visitors to jump and stretch while an ultra high-speed camera photographs their expression as they do. The unguarded portraits are digitally collected and displayed on a screen as part of the exhibition.


Notes for editors

Changing Faces is the national charity that helps people who have a disfigurement find a way to live the life they want. They are caring campaigners, providing support and a national Skin Camouflage Service to clients, whilst advocating and campaigning for face equality and an end to discrimination. For more information visit or call 0345 450 0275.

Part of the Science Museum Group