'Hands on History' -- learning about London's history
As well as creating a fantastic and original new museum for London, the museum founders want to share their passion for history in order to inspire, enthuse and inform a younger generation. The museum will offer educational trips to the foreshore to schools and other educational bodies. The purpose-built classroom within the museum will act as a hub for creativity and innovation whilst supporting teachers in a variety of ways in order to meet educational agendas. This approach will change the perspective of history linking actuality with education. This would include the types of things we could expect to find on the foreshore, orientation and information about the area we will be searching as well as safety tips and do’s and don’ts.
Teaching aids including real artifacts, visual displays, wall maps, etc. will be used to bring history to life. A resin flooring system full of coins and artifacts will act as a virtual foreshore so students can ‘get their eye in’ before going down to the foreshore. The educational foreshore tour will be a real 'hands on history' experience for all and a great way to be inspired. One idea is to provide a check list with 10 - 15 photos of the most common foreshore finds, and students will try to find as many of those items as possible. The list would include Tudor pins, lace chapes, fragments of salt glaze (Bellarmine), fragments of slip ware, Medieval pottery (e.g. green glaze), fly buttons, lead tokens, clay pipes, musket balls, Tudor bricks, ship nails, etc. The foreshore is packed with unusual objects, and every item has its own story to tell. Kids really love a treasure hunt, so the Thames Museum’s educational programme is an exciting way to learn about London’s history. Museum guides will be on hand during the foreshore visit to identify finds and offer plenty of help and encouragement.
Once the foreshore tour is finished, students can return to the museum to get cleaned up. Finds can then be examined carefully and anything of importance recorded. As members of the Thames Mudlarks, the founders regularly record their finds with the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) which has an online database of UK finds. The museum will offer a simple and easy to use version of the PAS database so students can record their important finds themselves directly after their foreshore visit. This recording system will be linked to the main PAS database so that all relevant finds are added. Imagine how cool it will be to record your own find! History Kudos. Your name will be associated with the discovery of a piece of history.
The museum will have a display board with the best finds during that month. This will include a description of the find and the name and age of the finder. This ‘leader board’ will be updated daily on the museum’s website, as well as on our social media channels - Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Certificates for find of the month and find of the year will be awarded.
History lessons need never be the same again! Through the finds that they take back to school with them, they can delve further into the history of their treasures in class projects. The excitement can continue as they will see their finds listed on our website, and see if any of their finds are still top of the rankings.
Old timbers, masonry and brickwork, original and authentic items such as barrels, wooden crates and decking will be used as display cases. Larger artifacts such as anchors, pulleys and ship ropes will adorn the walls inside and out. The use of audio and digital equipment will add to this experience.
Museum Interior Character
There are five fundamental concepts which will distinguish the Thames Museum from other museums in London and will create a unique, unforgettable experience.
1. The Thames Museum will be specifically dedicated to the archaeology and history of the River Thames which is currently the UK's largest archaeological site. Much of what we know about London's history has been discovered through artifacts recovered from the river, from Mesolithic stone tools to Medieval toys, Celtic sacred offerings to remnants of The Great Fire. Unique, historically important artifacts are continually being found in the river, and the Thames Museum would be a place for academics, visitors and school children to research and learn from these important finds.
2. ‘Hands on History’ will be the most important aspect of the Thames Museum experience and is proven to be one of the best ways to aid learning. The museum will be ideally located on the river, and daily tours using the foreshore as a ‘classroom’ will be designed for pupils and students to get their hands dirty and discover archaeology for themselves. The expert museum guides will help identify these finds and explain the history behind the objects. These history lessons will enthuse and inspire visitors in a revolutionary way.
3. The Thames Museum’s collections will be forever changing. With new discoveries being made on a daily basis, each visit will be different from the last. The museum will also be unique as visitors who participate in the tours of the river foreshore will be able to add to the collections themselves. Some of their artifacts could change the way we look at London’s history forever.
Searching and discovering clues to our past
Educational trip to the Thames foreshore with museum guide
4. Working closely with the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS), the Thames Museum will assist in identifying and recording artifacts on the online database which is an invaluable resource to researchers, historians and the general public. The museum will be a place of discovery and recording where knowledge will be made available for current and future generations.
5. Like a time capsule, the Thames Museum will transport you back to the great Elizabethan, Georgian and Victorian maritime periods when London was the capital of a vast empire and the River Thames was the vital lifeline between Great Britain and its colonies. The interior fit out of the museum would simulate the character of the old Elizabethan, Georgian and Victorian docklands and be inspired by the busy wharves, bustling shipbuilding yards and crowded warehouses so the museum visitor can see, smell and touch the history.