Without doubt, museums are exciting places to visit. They transform learning and enthuse pupils. On a daily basis we hear: “Wow”, “That’s so cool”, “Is that really Henry VIII’s ship?”, immediately followed by lots of questions. Their school topic has jumped out of a book or a computer screen and has become a real-life immersive experience.
A visit enriches the whole curriculum. Visitors of all ages generally arrive with history in mind but quickly realise that we are also a museum of science, materials, health, diet, weaponry and building design.
Pupils meet expert staff and volunteers and become experts themselves through the taught sessions and tours. They are motivated to learn and want to share their learning with others.
A visit puts all pupils on a level playing field. A visit challenges and inspires. It can raise aspirations and engage disengaged pupils. As pupils leave we often hear: “I want to work in a museum”, “I’m going to be an archaeologist”, “I’m going to be a historian”. In the jargon, it ‘narrows the gap’.
A visit improves relationships and develops social skills. Many of our taught sessions, such as the Tudor Gun Drill or Henry’s Heroes, involve co-operation. Teachers and adult helpers can also have fun dressing up or loading the gun – it’s not just for the students! Out of the usual school environment pupils can thrive and rise to the occasion, raising their self-esteem. Teachers are often surprised when a ‘quiet’ pupil in class volunteers to be the gun captain or describes a battle plan to the rest of the class.
Finally, always take advantage of the expertise of the staff and volunteers. We are all there to help, answer questions and enhance your visit.