Lights, camera, action as borough’s museums go digital

Covid-secure filming has taken place at Cheshire West and Chester museums to develop digital content for schools.

The four venues – Weaver Hall Museum and Workhouse, Lion Salt Works, Stretton Watermill and the Grosvenor Museum – have very successful education programmes. Last year teams worked with over 19,000 school pupils and adults.

However, the impact of the on-going pandemic has been immense, and children have missed out on the learning opportunities and experience provided by a museum visit with their school.  Over recent months staff have been able to keep in touch with schools, offering some degree of digital content.

The Cultural Recovery Funding has now offered the opportunity to enhance the museums’ digital content   This grants programme is part of the Government’s £1.57 billion package to protect the UK’s culture and heritage sectors from the economic impacts of Covid-19 supporting cultural organisations.

Staff are working on a range of digital classroom themes including School Days Past, Exploring Roman Britain, Learning from Archaeology, Vikings and the Language of Salt with filming carried out by Wirral-based, hi impact Media.

As well as pre-recorded sessions for use in schools, digital content and downloads will be provided to support teachers in digital classrooms, which is planned to include escape room and Minecraft-style activities.

It will be part of a hybrid offer for schools which will include physical visits, loan boxes and outreach activities.  Research has shown the importance of ‘object-based learning’ – even an object from the most mundane aspects of ordinary life can boost a learner’s understanding of a particular period in history.

Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Councillor Louise Gittins said: “This is such an exciting project.  We didn’t want to replicate what pupils learn on an actual museum visit, so the new digital material compliments our physical sessions.

“Two sessions have been filmed so far and there is more to come. Our Learning Team has also received filming training and we have invested in equipment to allow us to do our own filming in the future.”

Some of the content will be free of charge and some will be chargeable.  More material will be added to support teachers and pupils across the curriculum in the future.