FROM THE GLASS CASE TO THE CLASSROOM SPACE: NATIONAL MUSEUMS NI BRINGS MUSEUM EXPERIENCE TO BELFAST SCHOOLS DURING LOCKDOWN

Virtual learning programme, Museum on the Move, Animates St. Comgall’s, Lisnasharragh and Victoria Park Primary Schools in Belfast

Schools Across Belfast encouraged to Participate in New Museum Education Programme

National Museums NI’s ‘Museum on the Move’ remote learning programme is bringing a virtual museum experience to children and young people in schools throughout Belfast.

The programme is an exciting and multi-layered alternative to a museum visit. It combines live and interactive learning sessions, delivered via video link by the museum’s Education team, with investigations of real museum objects in the classroom.

Following a successful pilot scheme across Northern Ireland in 2020, the National Museums NI Education team are offering ‘Museum on the Move’ to support other schools and is encouraging teachers in Belfast to register their interest in the programme.

National Museum NI’s Education Manager, Louise Rice, said: “After a really encouraging response to our pilot scheme – we want to continue the programme by supporting schools as all children return to the classroom.  We understand how challenging the learning environment is and are positioned to bring unique learning experiences into classrooms in an engaging and safe way. 

“Enhancing and supporting education is at the very heart of National Museums NI, and our collections connect to all areas of the NI curriculum.  We have literally thousands of stories that can spark imaginations and empower children to explore their own curiosity and share discovery.  We hope we can support teachers during these challenging times to bring variety to the classroom – not only virtually, but also with real historical artefacts.”

The delivery of the programme is led by National Museums NI’s Education team, who work in partnership with the teacher to guide their class through an investigation of historic objects. They also help to encourage the children to complete tasks, give feedback, ask questions, and share their creative responses.

Live delivery is enhanced with short films on a variety of themes and with audio from National Museums NI’s sound archive.  Teachers receive learning resources and materials with each loan box of museum objects. The loan boxes are delivered and picked up by museum staff, following Covid-secure protocols.

Luke McCollum, a teacher involved in the pilot programme from Carnalbanagh PS Ballymena, commented: “Museum on the Move was a fantastic opportunity for my class to experience something completely new in a time when opportunities for learning outside the classroom or for visitors to come to school are so limited.

“The children loved interacting with the programme facilitators – they were engaged and challenged. The resources provided added a fantastic visual aid which we were able to make use of over a couple of weeks and brought about much discussion and learning amongst the children. I would highly recommend this programme to anyone looking for something a little different to help enhance their World around Us topic work.”

Numerous schools have since enrolled in the scheme and National Museums NI is encouraging schools that wish to participate to register their interest, as places are limited. To find out how to participate in the programme, email: education@nmni.com

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