Young Curators at the National Waterways Museums

During the recent school half term holiday, we held Young Curator events at both the National Waterways Museums in Gloucester and Ellesmere Port, where children experienced working behind the scenes of our National Waterways. The combined efforts of the education team and museum curators allowed these enthusiastic young historians an opportunity to handle objects hidden in our store rooms and learn how to present to visitors.

Young Curators at Gloucester
At Gloucester, the nine children, all under 12, firstly had an introduction from Steve Bagley, the museum curator, who demonstrated how fragile objects should be carefully handled; how records are kept on each item and how to retrieve them. When they were shown a selection of mystery objects which we thought would keep them guessing, we were amazed at the extent of some of their knowledge of historical objects. How many 11 year olds do you think would know what a sextant is and what it's used for? 
The youngsters looked around the shelves for items from the waterways and in small groups they looked through the file and computer records to discover more about it. Items they picked included a caulking iron and mallet, a lamp, a boating plaque and a very old model of a trow. When they had studied the details of their chosen artifact, they then prepared to share their new found knowledge with the public. We were very impressed on how keen they were to talk to museum visitors and to pass on the information they had unearthed.
We finished the day with a Q&A session with Steve, where they quizzed him with asked lots of questions from; how do you become a curator? to, what is the oldest item in the collection? We think Steve had better watch out for these bright future curators!
Another free Young Curator event for children is being planning for April in both museums. I wonder what fascinating items will catch their eye next time when they delve behind the scenes of the museums?

Last date edited: 7 March 2019

About this blog

The Education Team

The Education Team delivers two main learning programmes. Explorers which is aimed at primary school children and uniformed groups, and STEM which is aimed at secondary schools. We provide free, curriculum linked learning resources for teachers and offer a range of outreach sessions to inspire children and young people about our waterways. Our fantastic Education Volunteers deliver sessions on the towpath or in school, bringing the stories of our waterways to life.


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