Museum takes a step back in time for educational virtual school visits

PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 October 2020

During lockdown, lots of people learnt new skills, and the team at Ely Museum were no different - except they decided to tackle virtual time travel to deliver school visits online. Picture: ELY MUSEUM

During lockdown, lots of people learnt new skills, and the team at Ely Museum were no different - except they decided to tackle virtual time travel to deliver school visits online. Picture: ELY MUSEUM

Archant

During lockdown, lots of people learnt new skills, and the team at Ely Museum were no different - except they decided to tackle virtual time travel to deliver school visits online.

During lockdown, lots of people learnt new skills, and the team at Ely Museum were no different - except they decided to tackle virtual time travel to deliver school visits online. A Roman soldier shows off his shield. Picture: ELY MUSEUMDuring lockdown, lots of people learnt new skills, and the team at Ely Museum were no different - except they decided to tackle virtual time travel to deliver school visits online. A Roman soldier shows off his shield. Picture: ELY MUSEUM

Suspecting that visiting schools in person during the autumn term would not be possible, the summer was spent devising a plan.

Since then, classrooms have time travelled virtually to explore what life was like for people in Ely as far back as the Stone Age.

Thanks to a ‘heritage emergency fund’ grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the museum was able to purchase the necessary equipment to make live-streaming visits possible and began preparation and rehearsals over the summer. 

During lockdown, lots of people learnt new skills, and the team at Ely Museum were no different - except they decided to tackle virtual time travel to deliver school visits online. A table filled with World War 2 rations shows children what life would have been like. Picture: ELY MUSEUMDuring lockdown, lots of people learnt new skills, and the team at Ely Museum were no different - except they decided to tackle virtual time travel to deliver school visits online. A table filled with World War 2 rations shows children what life would have been like. Picture: ELY MUSEUM

In the half of term so far, the Ely Museum team have livestreamed Maximus the Roman soldier, Cornelius Vermuyden 17th Century fen drainage engineer, Wilfreda the Wise Woman and several other characters into classrooms across East Cambridgeshire.

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Emily Allen, community engagement officer at Ely Museum, said: “We have been able to continue bringing history to life for children - and through the wonders of technology, we’ve been able to add a few surprises into the sessions which would not have been possible at an in-person visit. 

“With several virtual visits scheduled each week and lots more booked in for the rest of term, these remote sessions have proved that they can bring something a bit special to the normal classroom day.”

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During lockdown, lots of people learnt new skills, and the team at Ely Museum were no different - except they decided to tackle virtual time travel to deliver school visits online. Some activities, which could not be done live, were filmed in advance. Phil from Ely Museum demonstrates the use of a fire stick. Picture: ELY MUSEUMDuring lockdown, lots of people learnt new skills, and the team at Ely Museum were no different - except they decided to tackle virtual time travel to deliver school visits online. Some activities, which could not be done live, were filmed in advance. Phil from Ely Museum demonstrates the use of a fire stick. Picture: ELY MUSEUM

Sally Austin, learning officer at Ely Museum, said: “Whilst virtual visits will always be very different from actual in person visits, and will never replace them, they have proved to be an excellent way to continue our education outreach in a way which works in these covid-constrained times. 

“We’ve been delighted with how popular the visits have proved to be - and we know they are appreciated by teachers too” 

“Virtual visits with Ely Museum are adapted to suit the needs of each class. Whether it’s a question & answer live chat session with a Roman or an Anglo Saxon soldier, learning about his equipment as he prepares for battle, joining a farmer as we scare the birds from the Fenland fields, or trying on a gas mask in preparation for war, we will do our best to suit the needs of a particular topic. 

During lockdown, lots of people learnt new skills, and the team at Ely Museum were no different - except they decided to tackle virtual time travel to deliver school visits online. A Roman soldier shows off his shield. Picture: ELY MUSEUMDuring lockdown, lots of people learnt new skills, and the team at Ely Museum were no different - except they decided to tackle virtual time travel to deliver school visits online. A Roman soldier shows off his shield. Picture: ELY MUSEUM

“If teachers have a particular request, please do get in contact with the museum and we’ll try to help.”

For more information visit www.elymuseum.org.uk/edu/virtual-visits-with-ely-museum


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