Supplies assembled to put together family learning packsDuring the initial lockdown in March 2020, the Museum Learning Team were involved in putting forward a bid for a grant to enable them to help local children by providing history based home learning craft packs. These packs were to be full to bursting with bright, colourful and interesting activities. The plan was to utilise a setup similar to the Free School Meals delivery system that had already been put in place by the YMCA.

learning activity printed packI offered to help the learning team put together some 200 craft packs for the local children while I was working from home. Fairly quickly I started receiving boxes full with various craft items such as, glue sticks, craft scissors, wool, coloured paper, corrugated card, packets of coloured pencils, pencil sharpeners, rubbers and poly wallets, a pile started to build in the corner of my dining room.

Whilst waiting for other supplies to arrive I started measuring and cutting lengths of coloured wool and binding them together into groups ready for the Viking braiding task. This went on for quite a while as it was quite time consuming. After this I cut coloured corrugated card into squares for the weaving task.

finished packs packed into cardboard boxesMore items were delivered to my house, some from the museum shop others from suppliers and a printer. I started to assemble the large poly wallets, each one had to have craft items, paper, wool, card, an A3 timeline, a sticker sheet, story cube card and finally a 16 page printed booklet which contained all the instructions for all the activities. The more items that went into these wallets the fatter they became and I had to utilise everything to hand to store them in.

The learning team put together a fantastic 16 page work booklet featuring Rusty, the time travelling museum dog. These were all completed before we reopened and moved to the museum for ease of collection for delivery before being sent out to local families.

Rusty the Dog has become a museum favourite and is a mascot for the museum’s Young Archaeologist Club. Activity packs and videos featuring his time travelling adventures, as well as stories and cartoons of his historical adventures are on the museum’s website. Before Covid, the museum ran a variety of family friendly events and activities, as well as a learning programme for schools. Some activities have been adapted or moved online, but we look forward to others starting up again when we are able to welcome our communities back into the museum.