East Lothian Council Museums Service has loan boxes on more than 20 subjects which can be borrowed by schools, home educators and community groups. In these boxes you will find handling objects and background information to bring the past alive.
If there is a topic you think would be suitable for a loan box which we don’t already have, please leave a comment below or contact us.
(Whatever your topic!)
Here are ten quick ways in which museum objects can be used in the classroom or with a group to inspire and inform.
1. Drama, Role Play and Creativity
- Ask pupils/users to choose an object and mime what it was used for
- Ask a small group to do a short play showing how a particular object of group of objects would have been used. Everyone else has to guess what the object is.
- Give pupils/users a mystery object. Ask them how they feel about it? What does it make them think about and why? You’ll be amazed at some of the stories that could be created this way!
- Ask pupils/users to make a ‘technical’ drawing of a chosen artefact from the front, side and top, including accurate dimensions
- Ask pupils/users to sit back to back. One pupil then has the task of describing an object while the other has the task of drawing it.
- Ask pupils/users to draw a picture of the place that the object may have been found in
- Encourage pupils/users to study the object closely. Now hide it and ask them to draw what they remember. You can then reveal it and get them to compare.
- If you have several objects, ask pupils/users to organise them according to age, material or use
- Put up timeline up on the ball/whiteboard and ask pupils/users to indicate where a particular object or objects would fit in by using photos, ribbons etc.
4. Creative Writing
- Ask pupils/users to write a creative story or news article about how an object or objects first came into the museum collections.
- Ask pupils/users to empathise with the people who may have used particular objects. As an example, WW2 artefacts (e.g. an identity card or child ’s gasmask) could be used as a stimulus for pupils/users to write a letter about being an evacuee.
5. Constructing Questions
- Ask pupils/users to construct a list of questions they would like to ask about an object. Sort the questions into categories – function, history, size, etc. Try to answer questions as a class.
6. Compare and Contrast
- Ask pupils/users to compare and contrast objects such as old or new, real or replica, etc.
- Ask pupils/users to match objects by use, age, texture, colour, size, weight, the material that they are made from or any other criteria.
- Put a map on a display board. Take photos or make drawings of each object and pin these to the map to indicate where objects come from.
- Ask pupils/users to write a label for a chosen object which could be used in a museum exhibition.
- Ask pupils/users to brainstorm five adjectives to describe the objects, or five verbs to describe what it does.
- Invite someone to visit the class/grop as a ‘guest speaker’ to explain more about it – an older person who remembers using the object, an expert in their field, or someone from museums!
These are just a few suggestions to get you started.