Museum in My Classroom

Last year, museums across the Tees Valley worked with teachers at Riverdale Primary in Redcar and Lealholm Primary near Whitby to produce a free online toolkit that schools can use to create a museum exhibition with their own pupils.

Lealholm’s exhibition focused on Gertrude Bell, an inspirational Victorian archaeologist and explorer. Covering both her home life and her travels meant children studied everything from the creation of Baghdad to visiting the Ironstone Mining Museum, as Gertrude’s family were involved in ironstone mining. Students led the development of the exhibition, so it was a great opportunity for independent learning and problem solving.

Riverdale produced two exhibitions: What’s World War I got to do with us? and Change in trains looking at the development of the Stockton to Darlington Railway. Students in Years 4 and 5 were fascinated with the in-depth look into their very local history and loved sharing their new-found knowledge and passion with family and friends who came to the exhibition. Teachers commented on how motivated children were to learn and how purposeful their learning was.

Ideas for curriculum work and exhibition designs from both of these schools fed into the toolkit which is now freely available to schools. Find it here: npg.org.uk/mamteesvalley. Schools across the Tees Valley are now trying it out with great results. The first was Lakes Primary where Year 3 and 4 students topic was Proud of where we live. Using the Museum in your Classroom approach meant that the class went out of school much more than usual. Not just on museum visits, but walking to local landmarks and interviewing local elders. The resulting exhibition, with its very own fashion show, went down a storm with children’s families.

Why not try it out with your own class: www.npg.org.uk/mamteesvalley

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