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The UK’s Greatest Museum for Cornish Art and Culture | Free For Under 18s

Bringing Learning to Life

Many of us remember school trips fondly. At Royal Cornwall Museum, we love being able to invite in classes from across Cornwall to explore different eras of history and have fun learning together.

As we celebrate International Museum Day’s theme, ‘museums for education and research’, we asked our Learning Manager, Kate, why school visits can be so important:

For many children, a visit with their class may be the first time they set foot inside a museum, not just museum, but any museum at all. Seeing their faces and hearing their mumbled ‘wows’ as they walk through the doors into the main gallery, never gets old. We spend every day here, so we forget how impressive our building is.

If you think back to your school days about what you remember, it’s the school trips. We are lucky enough, therefore, to be a part of every child’s ‘best bit’.

During a visit to the museum, children can enjoy getting messy recreating history with their own Roman oil lamps, Stone Age coil pots, or maybe Victorian Peg Dollies. But just as valuable is the chance for us to bring history to life for visiting pupils.

Children enjoy getting hands-on with the artefacts, and when you tell them that the object they are holding is thousands of years old, often the look on their faces is priceless.

We also try to bring the learning to life with a bit of drama, whether that’s a ‘dummy mummy’ mummification session, or a Victorian lantern show. Some pupils join us for ‘Mrs Trevithick’s Tales’ and spend an entire hour with our own Mrs Trevithick, who stays in role the entire time.

With a combination of theatrics, artefact handling, and creation, students are really able to immerse themselves in the subject and stories. We see it in the reaction of children on the day, and we hear it in the feedback from staff. Pupils get so much value learning outside the classroom, sparking their curiosity.

At the end of a visit, I hope that children take away the feeling that museums are for them. We’re a friendly and welcoming space and want everyone to feel comfortable. We love it when children bring their parents and carers back to show off their knowledge and give their grown-ups a tour – that is the highest praise we could receive.