Friday, November 14, 2014

Wakefield Museum: The 'Place'ment to be!

Our names are Charlotte and Naadiya, we are students from Leeds Trinity University and have been undertaking a two-week placement at Wakefield Museum to support our course.


We are Studying Primary Education and are here to experience education in an alternative setting. During the course of these two weeks, we have been able to see the ways in which museums contribute to education, and the fascinating methods that they use when carrying out their workshops. We have been lucky enough to observe and support a variety of workshops, including outdoor tours at Sandal Castle, World War One and Ancient Egyptian Artefacts workshops. Not only was the content of these workshops extremely interesting, but we had the opportunity to handle some of the original artefacts, such as an Ancient Egyptian Shabti dating back to nearly 3000 years!
Ancient Egyptian Shabti
Carrying out our placement at Wakefield Museum allowed us to see how they make their workshops cross-curricular, not simply focussing on the history aspect that many museums specialise in. For example, delivering a workshop on World War One where the children created a diary entry, rather than just focussing on the history.

Pupils from Wakefield Methodist (VC) J. I. and N. School examining WW1 artefacts

During our time here, we had the opportunity to prepare our own workshop on World War One posters. This enabled us to experience the process that the education staff at the museum go through in order to create their workshops.  We found it was a long and lengthy process but very interesting, especially carrying out the research to support the workshops. By assisting in this research, we were able to look at ancestry websites and create links to the local area – this definitely made us feel like detectives!

WW1 Recruitment Poster

We ran two sessions of our workshop and although the content was the same, the sessions were slightly different. This highlighted how flexible you have to be with workshops as no two classes are the same, and each session has to be tailored around that group of children to meet their individual needs. The feedback we received was positive on the whole and we were told that the museum is going to develop and use our workshop in the future which we are both very proud of.

If you ask us what our favourite part of this placement was, it would have to be the WW1 workshop when we saw a reading of the diary of George Kellett, an army solider from Wakefield during WW1.  The actor playing George adopted his role well to engage not just the students, but the adults too.  This session was not only interesting and informative, but also entertaining.
Pupils from Wakefield Methodist (VC) J. I. and N. School meet 'George Kellett'
It’s safe to say we have lost count of the amount of times we have said ‘Wow!’ in these past couple of weeks! We are grateful for this opportunity and to all the staff who have helped us and would happily bring our future pupils to this museum. We would definitely recommend a placement here!

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