History Hunters – summer schools 2014

With all the whirlwind of New Found Land events this summer, we’ve barely had time to catch our breath let alone report on one of our favourite annual highlights – summer school. This year we ran two “History Hunters” summer schools for 7-11 year olds in July, so this blog post is somewhat overdue! But better late than never, as the saying goes.

The theme of History Hunters was Victorian Egyptology, and over three mornings the children learned the skills needed in order to become Egyptologists themselves. Building on our existing Discovering Ancient Egypt primary schools workshop, this was a chance for us to explore our collections even further and see where they could take us.

This was the second year we worked in partnership with the University Museums service for summer school, and on Day 2 the children got to see and even handle real ancient Egyptian artefacts. Read all about it below!

Day 1

The children were introduced to the field of Egyptology and they explored some of our Victorian collections, including sketches, archaeological ‘squeezes’ and transcriptions and translations of hieroglyphs. They learned about the importance of recording your findings, and tried out some of the different methods available. They also developed some important research skills and found out information about the Egyptian deities. In week 2 we added a bit of drama as well, with the children telling some of the weird and wonderful stories of the gods in freeze frames!


Day 2

This was our ‘away day’ at the Zoology Museum. Our colleague Gillian from the Museums Service brought out a variety of ancient Egyptian artefacts including canopic jars, animal charms originally found wrapped in mummies and a stone carving with a cartouche. The children learned how to handle, identify and research the artefacts. Back at the Special Collections Centre they made their own clay charms inspired by the ancient Egyptian ones they handled at the museum.


Day 3

This was the last morning of the summer school, and it was a busy one! Not only did a real archaeological conservator come to talk to the children about what it is like to work on a dig (Margot has worked on many, many digs all across the world, including one at the Valley of the Kings in Egypt), but the children learned how to carry out a dig themselves and how to record the contextual evidence around a find. After an intensive session of digging, recording and analysing, it was all go to create a final exhibition for parents and visitors!

We always love doing summer school because not only do we get to work with our participants for longer than usual and get to know them better, but it’s also a chance for the children themselves to create something really substantial with the collections. We’re always impressed by the final outcome, and it’s great to see so much effort going into the exhibition and how proud the children are when showing it to their parents!

Posted by: Sarah


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