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17 Dec 2020

Going Virtual:
Taking our Schools Sessions Online

We have had a great term setting up our virtual streaming service to schools as we all find a way to adjust in this very strange year. With the support from Esmée Fairbairn Foundation; Birmingham Museums have had the opportunity to adapt our interactive and engaging schools’ sessions into a digital format. It has not been easy, but we are really proud of our initial offer and can’t wait to develop more sessions next year.

MuseumStream Highlights

Our Learning and Engagement Officer Lizzie knew her first Museum Stream session was going to be fun the moment the kids entered: they were all dressed in Ancient Egyptian costumes and beaming with enthusiasm!

A young Anubis, the jackal-headed god of the dead, took a seat in front of the camera, and we opened our artefact loan boxes to a chorus of excitement. What followed was a mixture of independent investigation, creative storytelling, activity sheets and high energy questions and answers, followed by a jaunty tour of the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery Ancient Egyptian Gallery. Highlights included an explosion of indignation at the news that Ancient Egyptians reached adulthood at 8 years old, wailing time machine noises as Lizzie sped around the gallery and genuine amazement at spotting museum objects identical to the loan artefacts in their classrooms. She took every opportunity to engage directly, answering questions about ancient Egyptian toilets, reaching up high to show them the detailing on the sarcophagus, and encouraging everyone to imagine themselves on the banks of the River Nile, 3000 years ago.

Ancient Egyptian Mummies

We received overwhelmingly positive feedback, including drawings and handwritten letters from each pupil, telling us all about how they wanted to work in a museum one day! As we travelled back millennia, two webcams and an internet connection successfully disappeared the miles between the school and the museum.

Teacher: 

They [the learning officers] are doing a great job, I’m really impressed. The artefacts are amazing. Aren’t we lucky to have this in our classroom?

The first Thinktank Live stream show ‘Luminous Light’ transitioned perfectly from a large theatre space to a live stream version straight into the classroom! The experiments had just the same wow factor and highlights included catching a shadow and making UV hand prints. The four classes were engaged throughout and gave a round of applause after an excellent shadow puppet performance by the team. A great part of the experience was that even a student isolating at home could join in the fun and help answer questions. The session was interactive throughout and at the end the class had the chance to ask lots of brilliant questions like “why is the sky blue?” and “why can’t we see UV?”!

Behind the scenes of a virtual school session

Learning Officer:

 “As soon as I saw the smiling faces on screen it all felt wonderfully back to normal! I had great fun showing off some of our best science demo’s to the class and I think they had a great time too.”

Thinking about what you would like to do next term? Check out our virtual streaming sessions.


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