The Museum of East Dorset is proud to offer a vibrant and flexible learning programme with a particular focus on creative, hands-on activities.
We offer a wide range of workshops covering over 2000 years of British history, from the Stone Age to the Iron Age, Romans, Victorian life, and the World Wars. Specific topics include Houses and Homes, Toys and Games.
Here are just a few of the highlights:
- Discover how we find out about the past and the way people used to live with our ‘Dig It!’ sessions. These hands-on indoor archaeological digs were designed by renowned archaeologist Julian Richards. Peel back the layers to discover an Iron Age roundhouse or a Roman villa.
- Make biscuits using the original Beetonette range in the Kitchen.
- Borrow loans boxes and associated learning materials covering topics such as the Stone Age, Romans, Victorian Life, First World War: Children’s contribution to the war effort, the 1930s, Toys: Old and New. These contain handling objects from the collections, replica items, photographs, pictures, documents, and suggested learning activities.
The Museum of East Dorset provides active, hands-on sessions that support the Foundation Curriculum and Early Years topics. All the themes that we cover are connected to the building and collections.
We understand that young children learn through play and exploration, so our young guests are highly encouraged to use their imagination and get actively involved in the sessions. The activities can be tailor-made for your needs, with popular themed workshops including The Gingerbread Man and Toys: Old and New.
Key Stages 1 – 4
The Learning Service provides hands-on creative sessions, supporting subjects across the National Curriculum, particularly history. All our sessions can be adapted to suit all key stages and all activities are fully risk assessed.
All the themes and topics are connected to the museum building and its collections. We operate a ‘pick and mix’ system, which allows you to choose activities and sessions within one or more topics or Key Stages.
For Key Stage 4 pupils, the museum has worked with teachers and pupils to support topics across the curriculum, including History, English, Geography, Art and design, Design and Technology and Photography. Using museum objects, artefacts and local studies resources, the full potential of the museum building and collections can be used to support your subjects.
Placements and partners
The Museum of East Dorset works closely with Bournemouth University and other educational establishments to develop suitable learning opportunities for their students. We can also provide internships and work experience placements for local schools, the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme and other education providers.
The Learning Team also works closely with The Mansel-Pleydell and Cecil Trust, which offers educational grants to enable individuals and groups to explore Dorset’s rich natural and human environment.
Through our outreach service we can bring the learning to you! For most of the topics we offer, we can provide outreach sessions in school with some adaptations. As part of these outreach sessions, a member of the Learning Team will visit your school with a fascinating selection of suitable items from the collections. In addition, they will deliver a talk about the chosen topic and are on hand to answer any questions the children may have. (This service is currently unavailable)
We recognise that these are unusual times and visiting the Museum of East Dorset in person may not be practical at the moment. So, let us bring the museum to you with our range of online learning activities. We can provide a selection of downloadable activities and resources based on our on-site sessions, ensuring that you can still make the most of the learning opportunities that we offer.
We invite staff and teachers to take a look at some of our learning resources and familiarise themselves with the programme before they visit.
This will help them develop any complementary learning activities as well as get the most out of the learning sessions.
These resources can also be used independently to enrich classroom practice and creativity, drawing from the museum’s expertise and our unrivalled collection of local history.
“Thoroughly enjoyable, very hands-on, friendly staff and active and on the go so children were fully occupied. Thank you.”
St John’s Pre-School – 9 May 2017
“A superb visit which complemented our learning in school beautifully. Kind, helpful, courteous and knowledgeable staff – thank you very much!”
Sixpenny Handley First School 7 June 2017
“All the sessions were great – practical, informative and inclusive…. Thank you for a fantastic day – we will certainly be back next year.”
Blandford St Mary CE VA School – 23 January 2017
“I had a very fantastic and imaginative trip to the Priest’s House Museum. I had an amazing experience”
“I am writing to tell you and the staff to say how wonderful our trip was!”
“I think the best thing was being a Victorian child in the school. I had the best time ever.”
“We had such a wonderful time – it was perfect for the children. We managed to take enough Gingerbread men with us for each child!”
Southill Primary School, March 2023
“We had such a fantastic time at the museum learning about toys from the past and would like to book in a date for next year.”
Merley First School, March 2023
“I just wanted to email and say a huge thank you for our visit today; the students had a fantastic time looking around, and everyone was so welcoming and helpful.”
Queen Elizabeth’s School, March 2023
“Thank you so much for organising such a wonderful trip. the children thoroughly enjoyed themselves (as did the adults) It is so nice to get out again!! Please pass on my thanks to all the adults who gave freely of their time to make the day such a valuable experience.”
Sixpenny Handley School, February 2022
“Just wanted to say what a beautiful museum and learning experience you have put together. We had a great morning. So much to do and see and thank you for taking the time to come and meet us.”
Outreach Teacher, Five Rivers Child Care, February 2023
“Thank you so much for the loan of the WW2 box. The Year 6 class have really enjoyed it!”
Talbot House School, January 2023
“Our Year 4’s are loving the Roman artefact box that we have loaned- thankyou!”
Henbury View School, January 2023
“Thank you so much for facilitating our visit. The children loved visiting and learning all about the Victorians. I can’t wait to visit again!”
Milldown CE Academy, January 2023
“Thank you so much for today! We had a fantastic time and learnt so much. Also, a big thank you to your amazing volunteers.”
Yarrells, December 2022
“The volunteers and atmosphere was excellent. We felt really welcome! The volunteers engaged well with the children encouraging them to ask questions and feel a part of the experience. It was such a great visit with activities that were well planned and the group change overs were really smooth! Thanks so much for a fabulous day.”
Pimperne Primary School, October 2022