In order to decide which of your collections are suited to the needs of schools it would be useful to:
- have a discussion with curatorial staff
- decide what are the strengths of your collection
- look at which collections might be used for school-age children
- contact your Museum Development Officer or someone from your Hub museum to discuss where there is good practice by museums with collections similar to yours
- consult with other museums with similar collections
- arrange to visit and watch a session and talk to the education officer at the museum.
But most importantly you must consult with teachers :
- arrange to visit your local school to see how children are being taught today
- invite teachers to your museum to look at and discuss the collections and how they might be used
- be aware that different schools will be approaching the curriculum in different ways.
If in discussion with teachers you find that your collections don’t provide enough content or engagement for a whole visit you might like to explore whether any could be combined into an integrated enquiry. This would take more skill to develop or you could consider supplementing limited collections with role play characters or other immersive activities.
How to begin?
- Look at the National Curriculum and the Schemes of Work.
- Think about which parts of your collection are most relevant and suitable for the needs of teachers and pupils.
- Start with the History Curriculum and then explore ways of linking to other Curriculum areas.
- Look at Choosing Objects for Handling to help you decide on which objects are suitable.
- Using Museum Objects to Connect Curriculum Subjects (Julie Allaway 2005, Word DOC, 54Kb).
- Choosing Objects for Handling (Word DOC 22Kb).
- The Department for Education (DfE) National Curriculum pages can tell you much more. (PLEASE NOTE: The current curriculum is currently under review – see the draft changes here.)
- The West Midlands website museums4schools is worth exploring to look at the themes different museums cover under each curriculum subject.
- Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) website to find out what topics schools are recommended to study for the History Curriculum (PLEASE NOTE: This website was last updated in 2010 and has since been archived and therefore may be out of date.)
- Association of Independent Museums (AIM) has produced a Focus Paper titled Learning in Smaller Museums.
- Youth Learn website for more about Enquiry based learning.
Please note: The change in government means that some of the initiatives discussed on this page may no longer reflect government policy and may be subject to change as the new Government forms its policies.