PUPILS took over Bradford's Cartwright Hall this week going behind the scenes and getting hands on.

Ten and 11 year olds from Hollingwood Primary School were invited to work alongside staff as part of National Kids In Museums Take Over Day to find out about all the tasks and jobs that need to be done to keep the visitor attraction running.

This is the third time Bradford Council has let youngsters take the helm at its museums and galleries as part of the initiative and it will definitely be doing it again, said Bradford Council’s Museum Manager, Janet Simmonds.

"It's all about getting young people at the heart of the museum, giving them an inside peep at what goes on behind the scenes. Museums can be exciting, vibrant places," she said.

Thirty pupils from the school, in Hollingwood Lane, spent today helping care for the collections at the gallery, gilding frames, learning to pack objects and even identifying pests who creep and crawl their way around the exhibits and need to be exterminated before they do damage.

Mrs Simmonds added: "After the success of last November’s Take Over Day we are very pleased to be embedding this into our programme and giving pupils ideas of possible future careers. They've been having a brilliant time, we've kept them very busy. "

Haroon Salah, 11, was on a bug detecting team, looking at insect traps then using magnifying glasses and poster charts to identify them and do a count.

Moths and carpet beetles are among the worst culprits found lurking but Haroon found a silverfish, he said: "I didn't think I was going to be a bug detective today. There's all sort of insects living here. It's great fun."

Some of the pupils had been giving office staff a hand and practising how to help answer phones. Jacob Woodhead, 11, and his class-mates even got a go at gilding with real goldleaf.

Pam Keeton from the gallery's Collections Team was showing the pupils what a fiddly and expensive business gilding can be.

"Just one little book of gold leaf costs £20, to do a medium sized frame could cost about £200," she said.

Jacob and his friends were suitably impressed. He said: "I've never done anything like this before. I can't wait to have ago."

In the afternoon, the children were giving guided tours and showing family and friends their own artwork inspired by what they had seen at the gallery.

It was so much fun that the other half of Hollingwood's year six pupils will be taking their turn tomorrow.

Since December all 60 of the year group have been taking part in an Arts Award course, accredited by Trinity College in London, and have all passed with flying colours, scoring points which will count towards them getting into university.

Deputy headteacher Janet Berry said: "We've got lots of talent and budding artists in our year six, we might even have a future Hockney among them."