As a child growing up in Newcastle, I always enjoyed exploring museums. Whether this was with school or family, it was always a great day out. I vividly recall seeing the Turbinia at The Discovery Museum and the process of mummification at The Hancock (now GNM). In reflection, these visits were incredibly important to a young person’s education.
Both Eileen and Roy told us of their busy schools programme, interacting with over 18,000 pupils per year – don’t you think that’s brilliant? I believe museum visits should be compulsory for schools, so students can delve into their topic of study – beyond the internet, textbooks, and display boards of the classroom. Not only do pupils learn in a different manner, but they create a memory (I’m sure we all have one) – sparking curiosity, and prompting the recollection of information at a later date. Moreover, evidence suggests that attainment improves with museum visits too!
The props used to teach the Darwinian theory of evolution to students were great – who wouldn’t be interested in skull replicas? If we assume pupils understood information during that session, and they see news stories like this, they can immediately relate to the science learned during their museum visit.
Closure of these museums would be disastrous. We would lose a resource, a traditional and successful method of science communication, where young people would miss out on days of wonder and exploration.