Friday, January 30, 2015

A Day In the Life

Welcome to our next 'Day in the Life' blog.  A lot goes into making our museums wonderful places to visits and caring for our collections.  This series of blogs invites staff at Wakefield Museums to tell you about their day:

Louise Bragan
Learning Officer

Rather than focus on one day in my working life I would rather give an overview of what museums learning can provide to the wider Museums Team here at Wakefield. Having said that, today will see me write this blog post, plan and prepare for a 2-5s session for tomorrow, begin to research and write a new session on Charles Waterton for KS1 pupils, and go to buy ingredients for sessions on Wednesday.        

Egyptian shabti
Within Wakefield Museums Service I provide, with my colleague, schools workshops for pupils aged 4-16 years. Sessions include handling various objects from the collections to support traditional in school learning and help bring the past to life. From Egyptian artefacts to the remains of an Iron Age chariot, to the toys and games of the 1980s, we deliver sessions that allow pupils to come into direct contact with artefacts made by, used by and owned by real people in the past. 

We offer a core programme of sessions to schools, but we can also develop bespoke sessions upon request (providing we have the collections to support the theme!). This week will see the pilot of a Victorian Food session. 

Pupils will meet a resident of Wakefield's Victorian past - Ann Dixon, mother of 10 living in one of the worst areas of the town. By comparing and contrasting their own diet to that of Ann’s children, pupils will be able to develop empathy with people of the past. 

Along with the schools sessions we also deliver a programme of workshops to families during the holidays, inspired by the museum displays and collection. Currently I am doing my final planning for the February half term, including a boat themed workshop using the Viking era Log boat on display in Wakefield Library and a workshop using the collections to create a short animated story using iPads.

Each month I also run a session for 2-5year olds called Crafty Crocs at Wakefield Museum. This session allows the children and their grown ups to be creative - again taking inspiration from the museum collections and the wider world around us. For the session in February we are using the new 1950s display in Wakefield Museum as our stimulus for craft activities.

My role can be varied and allows me to come into contact with many of the museum's younger audience. I hope that we can inspire some of the youngsters we meet, help bring the textbooks and power points from school to life and help make the connections to the past become real. Through the hands on enquiry we provide, people have the opportunity to experience for themselves the achievements of past craftsmen and women, the daily jobs that people undertook and a chance to touch the past.

To see what Wakefield Museums have to offer for yourself, take a look at our sister blog – 
Wakefield Museums Learning

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