National Museums Liverpool expands series of ‘Virtual Classrooms’ for schools
Created for schools for the new academic year, NML’s interactive curriculum-linked workshops – led by museum experts – bring learning to life and inspire the imaginations of pupils by engaging them in activities based on real artefacts. Mummification, Greek gods and transatlantic slavery are some of the subject’s school children can learn about in the comfort of their classrooms, thanks to virtual workshops developed by National Museums Liverpool.
COVID-19 has changed the way in which people work and learn. National Museums Liverpool had to adapt their way of working and engaging with schools and groups. In addition to our virtual classrooms, NML’s museums and galleries will also be able to welcome school groups in venue for self-led visits from September 2021, when schools will also be able to book these classroom sessions for in-person delivery at NML venues.
Two new live workshops are available in addition to the series of classroom sessions launched earlier this year. The new Legacies workshop, suitable for Key Stages 2 and 3 and launching as part of Black History Month in October, explores the legacies of the transatlantic slave trade and its ongoing impact, giving pupils the opportunity to learn about significant Black British role models and consider themes of racism and discrimination. NML are also developing a Continuous Professional Development session, specifically designed for teachers, to support them in the teaching of this often challenging topic.
The Art of Wellbeing workshop creates a safe environment for pupils to look at their own mental wellbeing and engage in self-care, using artworks from the collections of the Walker Art Gallery to provide inspiration to students as they discuss their emotions, mental wellbeing and the positive effects of working creatively. Pupils will be able to take their first step in creating their own tools for self-care in this inspiring, creative session.
Using feedback from teachers, NML have designed these workshops for key stages 1-3, each of which are supported by resources and activities that can be used before and after the session, including art and crafts templates and fact sheets about key museum artefacts. The workshops have been designed to develop teamworking skills, boost imagination and promote positive wellbeing, for example quizzes, role play, crafting, drawing, discussions and decoding puzzles.
Claire Benjamin, Head of Learning & Participation at National Museums Liverpool, said:
“We’ve had a great response to our virtual classrooms from parents and teachers alike. Teachers and community members have been unanimous in their support for these two new virtual classrooms, and have voiced a real desire for this kind of resource, which makes connections between history and contemporary issues.
“We are dedicated to providing access for every school to experience our amazing collections, exhibits and stories. Our virtual classroom workshops have helped pupils and teachers continue to discover and gain new knowledge throughout lockdown, and we are excited to be launching two new workshops to add to the series. Our Art of Wellbeing virtual classroom is relevant more than ever to support children and young peoples’ mental health and emotional wellbeing. Our Legacies virtual classroom, with generous support from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, addresses critical global topics around Black achievement and legacies of transatlantic slavery. These workshops help schools rediscover the wonder of our museums and galleries through cultural learning and participation.”
The virtual classrooms are currently delivered securely by Microsoft Teams. All that is needed is a laptop or computer with a built-in camera and microphone, a large display screen or projector, and access to a reliable internet connection. From September 2021, schools will also have the option to book in-person sessions should they prefer.
The two newly launched virtual classrooms are:
→ The Art of Wellbeing
The Art of Wellbeing workshop has been designed to provide a safe and fun environment to introduce pupils to mental wellbeing and self-care. We use artworks from the Walker Art Gallery’s collection as inspiration and provide a space to discuss emotions, mental health and the positive effect that working creatively can have. We use a blend of creative activities and practical exercises to give pupils the opportunity to create something they are proud of and learn transferrable relaxation skills. Our aim is to encourage pupils to take their first step in creating a self-care toolkit in an inspiring, creative session which can be continued at school with our pre- and post-session activities.
The art of wellbeing | National Museums Liverpool (liverpoolmuseums.org.uk)
→ Legacies of Transatlantic Slavery
This new virtual classroom explores the legacies of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, offering sessions for both Key Stage 2 and 3 pupils. Pupils will explore contemporary themes of racism, discrimination, human rights and activism, as well as learning about significant Black British role models and contemporary stories that link back to the ongoing impact of transatlantic slavery.
Available to book online from early September here: Virtual classrooms | National Museums Liverpool (liverpoolmuseums.org.uk)