Richmond museum uses technology to help children learn during pandemic

Museum collection image from the 1930s.

A Richmond museum is harnessing technology to help children continue to learn through the pandemic.

The Green Howards Museum is launching a pilot project which will see workshops streamed direct into classrooms; supporting teachers with curriculum-based content linked to the museum’s collection.

The workshops are just one part of the scheme, which will also offer a more informal weekly history club.

A grant from the Art Fund’s Respond and Reimagine funding stream, and support from the museum’s friends group means the six-month long pilot project will get underway in the next few weeks.

“It won’t come as any surprise that Covid-19 has presented us with numerous challenges,” said director and curator, Lynda Powell.

“Just like everyone else, we have had to cope, adapt and simply try to keep going.

“Our successful application for funding for the pilot has been a real boost, especially as we enter the latest phase of lockdown.  It enables us to continue to support schools, but with a new type of educational programme.

“Teachers tell us that what we have offered in the past is really helpful; now we are working hard to create content for new interactive workshops which we will to live stream into schools, enabling us to continue to engage with young learners.”

The museum is working with Risedale Sports and Community College in Catterick Garrison, Saint Francis Xavier School in Richmond, Brooklands School in Skipton and Tanfield Lea and Brandon primary schools during the pilot.

It is likely that the lessons learned over the next few months will be implemented into the museum’s educational programme in the longer term, as the reliance on streamed content becomes a routine part of the school day.

“Our collection can be used to teach anything from technology and numeracy, textiles and art, to literacy and politics,” explains the museum’s learning officer, Carl Watts.

“Schools will be able to choose from a menu of workshops, all specifically developed to meet their subject’s curriculum requirements.

“As well as the streaming element, there will be opportunities to handle museum objects in the classroom to accompany their online learning.

“In the midst of all the uncertainty, it’s great to be able to work on something positive that has the potential to reach many more young people than if we had continued to rely on school visits to the museum.”

The same technology will also be used by the museum to relaunch its popular Museum Talks series.

Streaming the talks allows the museum to reach a larger audience than its 40-seat capacity Normanby Room usually allows.

The talks series offers a vital income generator for the museum in the difficult months ahead.

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