All children had one visit to the Archives, gathering evidence of the real lives of people in Wellington Workhouse, and at least two to the library – the first visit investigating clues in the building to its past use, the second as location for performance. They learned about what used to go on in the streets and buildings they now use, and developed their own scenarios from the evidence. Performances, using original artefacts, took place in school assemblies, drama studio and on location.
The final DVD included a short edited film telling the story with narration written by the children, and full length films, including rehearsal, as a record of the whole project - enabling all children to be completely involved and have the opportunity to see/own a copy for their own archive. Copies of the DVD and material researched for the project are being used to create resource packs for KS2/3 History teachers and the participating schools had their own resource pack which will be of use in future local / Victorian curriculum work.
Our ambition was to help the children learn how to find out about the past in their own locality. To understand how archives and artefacts can be used to explain, tell or inspire a story and present their work to an audience in a historic building. To learn drama skills – acting, costume and set development, and participate in professional filming.
An extension of the project with a group of gifted & talented children has been funded through Engaging Places, and the children met and interviewed the librarian and architect involved in designing the new Wellington library. They have created their own questionnaires, designs, model of teenage section and presentation which will be presented in London & Wolverhampton.