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Hands-on discovery sessions

Child and chair Wycombe museum

Our sessions, which are aimed at key stages 1 and 2, last two hours and comprise workshop led activities and exploration of the Museum's galleries. They are an ideal way to introduce a topic or reinforce class work and provide an interactive and memorable experience. Don't forget, many of our workshops can also be delivered in school.

Click these links to go straight to the curriculum area you're looking for

Young Explorers: Early years and foundation stage
Key Stage 1: History: Changes within living memory
Key Stage 1: History: Significant events and commemorations - WW1
Key Stage 1: Science: Living things
Key Stage 2: History: Roman Empire and its impact on Britain and local study
Key Stage 2: History: Beyond 1066, Victorian local study
Key Stage 2: History: Beyond 1066, 1901 to present day local study
Key Stage 2: Art and Design & Design and Technology
Key Stage 2: Science: Living things

To find out about the sessions we are currently developing for the new Key Stage 2 History curriculum, click here

Check our Planning A Visit section to find out about our charges for sessions, how to book and health and safety on your visit.

Young Explorers: Early years and foundation stage

We offer a selection of sessions for Early Years and Foundation Stage. Sessions aim to introduce children to museum objects through stories, craft and hands-on activities.

A chair for baby bear

Introduces the importance of chair making locally. Which new chair will baby bear choose? Children help daddy bear learn how to mend baby bear's chair.

Rub-a-dub-dub

Meet the laundry maid, get dressed up and help with the washing. "Sploshy" fun, Victorian style!

Let's play

A creative carousel of activities that allows free play as well as a chance to handle old toys from the collection.

Key stage 1: History: Changes within living memory

Let's play

Through exploring a range of real and replica toys, children will investigate how things were different in the past. A family timeline is used to help children to place objects in chronological order and everyone will get to make their own magical toy to take home.

Home sweet home

That's a plant pot not a chamber pot! In this fast-paced session pupils investigate objects from the Museum when its building was a family home.

Through a series of hands-on activities that combine costume, free play, object investigation and the use of photographic evidence, children explore and compare household objects from the past with those from a modern home. They discuss what objects were used for, how things have changed and what we use today instead.

Key Stage 1: History: Significant events and commemorations - WW1

Time Detectives: World War 1

Could you survive the trenches? Find out some of the harsh realities of being on the front and ways you might cope. This session takes place in the WW1 gallery and includes time in the Museum's reconstructed trench.

Children investigate a range of artefacts from WW1, making observations, deductions and thinking imaginatively about them.

Key Stage 1: Science: Living Things

Where do animals live?

Through games and discussion, children will begin to understand that plants and animals in their environment have different needs and are found in different habitats. Children will work as a whole class and in smaller groups, using a range of fun activities.

Key stage 2: History: Roman Empire and its impact on Britain and local study

Life in Roman Britain

What was life really like in Roman Britain? Where did people live? What did they eat? How did they write? Taking a Romano-Celtic perspective, the workshop leader will discuss the impact of Roman settlement in the Chilterns. Hands-on activities give children the chance to explore objects, piecing together evidence from excavations, investigating mystery objects and experimenting with writing Roman style.

Key Stage 2: History: Beyond 1066, Victorian local study

Bodgers and bottomers: chair-making in Wycombe

This session is the perfect way to meet the needs of the creative curriculum. Using chairs as a springboard for art, understanding the locality and extending the topic to incorporate a geography and Victorian local history study.

Through story telling and object handling children explore what it was like working in the local furniture industry and discover just how Wycombe became the chair making capital of the world in the 1800s.

Town Trail: A Walk Through Time

Explore the High Wycombe Town Centre to find out why the settlement developed and how it has changed over time. This can be a self-led activity or for an extra charge, a member of the learning team can lead it. Why not combine it with another local study session?

Victorian washday

Join Castle Hill House's laundry maid in the preparation and completion of the washing. Taking on the role of laundry maids and stable boys, children consider some of the challenges of running a Victorian home.

Through a series of hands-on activities, children will have the opportunity to piece together evidence from the past, investigating objects and census material from when the Museum was once the family home of Castle Hill House.

A very Victorian Christmas at Wycombe Museum

It's December 1877 and there's lots to be done at Castle Hill House ready for the big day. The town is full of excitement too, in anticipation of a visit from Queen Victoria herself. In this hands-on session children help in the household: washing the clothes, polishing the silver and preparing for Christmas in the newly popular "Victorian" way. Children will explore how some of the Victorian traditions of Christmas evolved: delightful decorations, fragrant food, cards and crackers, not forgetting parlour games. Will all the chores get done and allow time to get to town to see Queen Victoria on this exciting visit to High Wycombe?
Children will make their own Victorian style Christmas decoration to take home.

Christmas sessions run from Monday 24 November until the end of term.

Key Stage 2: History: Beyond 1066, 1901 to present day local study

Time Detectives: World War 1

Could you survive the trenches? Find out some of the harsh realities of being on the front and ways you might cope. This session takes place in the WW1 gallery and includes time in the Museum's reconstructed trench.

Children investigate a range of artefacts from WW1, making observations, deductions and thinking imaginatively about them.

Take cover: WW2

Using a mock air raid, children work together in family units to prioritise and select belongings to take into their air raid shelter. Once the all clear is given children can discuss and evaluate their decisions. Children will use a range of evidence to consider other types of shelter used during the war. The session concludes making a simple model Anderson shelter.

Key Stage 2: Art and Design & Design and Technology

Take a seat

Do you know your stretcher from your splat? What about a Windsor from a Ladder back? Discover the answers to these and many more questions in this practical workshop.

Children will explore the different design features and components of a chair and how chairs in the past and today are designed to meet differing needs. This cross-curricular programme takes an historical approach and pupils will have the chance to investigate our chair collection, to gain inspiration for their own imaginative designs. The session includes making a prototype chair which students can develop back at school.

Key Stage 2: Science: Living Things

Habitats

What is a habitat and who lives there? Are the creatures from one habitat the same as from another.

We will explore two habitats within the Museum garden and the creatures within them, looking at the similarities and differences and how the plants and animals interact with each other through food webs.

Life cycles

Learn and understand parts of a flower through a series of engaging activities that include sorting and comparison activities. You will benefit from a nature expert on a guided walk.

Coming soon for Key Stage 2:

Time Detectives: Prehistory

For curriculum area: History: Changes in Britain from Stone Age to Iron Age

This includes an investigation of pre-historic tools and an exploration of how much we can find out from archaeological evidence with examples from local sites.


Time Detectives: A History Mystery

For curriculum area: History: Local overview study

The perfect way to meet the needs of the new curriculum. Using historical enquiry skills and investigating artefacts the children will piece together the past to gain a perspective of how several aspects of national history are reflected in the locality. This 'overview' session enables children to consolidate their chronological framework.

Planning a visit

Charges:

Hands-on sessions in the museum

£3 per child
£65 minimum charge per session
Accompanying adults are free. We recommend that you have 5+ adult helpers per class.

Museum in schools session

£100 per session (maximum 35 children in a class)
Each additional session charged at £80.

Schools outside of the Wycombe district are charged travelling expenses.

School sessions are offered Monday-Wednesdays. We have limited availability on Thursdays and Fridays.

To book

Contact us on 01494 421895 or museum@wycombe.gov.uk to book a session.

Please include the following details in your email:

name of school
teacher
workshop title
preferred dates
year group
size of class
if you require lunch at the Museum
Please book early to avoid disappointment - at least half a term is recommended.

Ask us about the discounts available for multiple bookings during a year or when sessions are booked at least half a term in advance.

If you cancel a visit within three weeks of the visit date, then the minimum fee will still be payable.

Trail sheets

The museum has a selection of worksheets and trails, some of which are available to download below. When you book a hands-on museum session a suggested trail sheet will be sent to you.

Health and safety

You are welcome to visit the Museum before you bring your class. If you would like to speak to the learning officer, please contact the Museum on the details in the right hand column, in advance to arrange a convenient time.

A risk assessment is available to download below.

 

Documents to download

Contact information