Exploring the benefits of museums on education

  • 14 April 2016

My Primary School is at the Museum is an innovative scheme which sees schools deliver their educational programme in a museum setting.

Tate Liverpool © Tate Photography

Tate Liverpool

My Primary School is at the Museum is a pilot scheme in which three schools have moved into their local museums for their day-to-day programme of lessons, including lunches and breaks. Launched earlier this year, the scheme will test the hypothesis that there may be beneficial learning, social and cultural outcomes for primary school children and their families when they receive their full-time education in a museum setting.

It will also look at the benefits to the museums and the schools themselves. In the future a partnership between a school and a local museum could help address some of the funding issues faced by both the education and museum sector.

The schools and museums participating in the scheme have groups of pupils based at their local museums for up to a term. The following partners are involved in My Primary School is at the Museum:

  • Kensington Children’s Centre, a pre-school nursery (children aged three to four), and Tate Liverpool.
  • A Year 5 group (children aged nine to ten) from Hadrian Primary School in South Shields, and Arbeia Roman Fort in South Tyneside.
  • A reception year (children aged four to five) from St Thomas Community Primary School, and National Waterfront Museum in Swansea.

The idea was conceived by the architect Wendy James of Garbers & James, and developed in collaboration with the Cultural Institute and the Department of Education & Professional Studies at King’s College London.

Wendy James said: ‘My work in the public cultural sector has increasingly specialised in education and museums. I strongly believe that there could be many creative benefits from children engaging with richly diverse object collections, for the pupils, their families, schools and museum. I am delighted at the opportunity to test such a partnership model between primary schools and their local museums and to develop the knowledge and understanding we need to shape what we hope will be the partnerships of the future.’

Tags: Supporting museums