MODERN MUSEUM, with displays and interactives which enhance the
collection, visitors have a great opportunity to appreciate the BROAD
EDUCATIONAL VALUE which the Ruskin Museum can provide.
What's good about museums, anyway ? They are a celebration of
people, places, objects and events from the past. They ignite an
enthusiasm for local heritage and can help to show pride and
responsibility in the community. (Ruskin's work is very relevant to the
whole theme of CITIZENSHIP). Visitors become inspired by what they are
able to see and find out. Children learn how the treasures of time
to people in the present, and therefore need to be looked after for the future.
Who's benefited so far ? All ages
- showing our provision for lifelong learning...School groups;
adult/special interest groups; blind school/groups with disabilities;
tourists; local people. The school groups from Barrow have worked on
contrasting their locality with that of Coniston (Geog.KS2); other
schools, from Wigan and Teesside (based at Outdoor Centres in Coniston)
looked at geology, landscape, local crafts and the mining history. One
school group from Wigan who had seen a video about Coniston were
determined to come for the day to see for themselves what the place was
all about - they said after a guided walk round the village and a visit to
the museum that there was no substitute for the real thing ! They got so
much out of it.
schools - local and otherwise - have taken advantage of
our OUTREACH PROGRAMME - combining a visit to the Museum with a guided
field trip to the Coniston Coppermines. They had a great time ! Jeff
Wilkinson, Museum custodian and leader, has also taken adult groups on
these walks of discovery, including Geology students from London
University. The other custodian, Mike Humphreys, has led walks up on
Yewdale Crags ('Ruskin's Footsteps') and in Coniston village
(literary/artistic heritage; Campbell; local history.) People on these
walks range from special interest groups to families and tourists.
Feedback from our walks has indicated that more learning happened
because of the enjoyable, informal setting. All walks are combined
with a museum visit, and can be adapted to the needs of the school or
(See WALKS section of site).
In the Museum itself we are
fortunate enough to have a WALL-HANGING representing Coniston life which
was put together by local schoolchildren on the occasion of the 50th
Anniversary of V.E. Day (1995). The panels include the old railway, Donald
Campbell, the lake,
Brantwood, the fells and farm life. More recently children from the Junior
School worked in the Museum with actor/interpreter Iain McNichol as
an Elizabethan copperminer. Iain also featured in the 'engage' project for
Museums & Galleries Month which the Museum undertook with John Ruskin
School and Brantwood. This was Key Stage 3 cross-curricular work on the
theme of 'Mountain Landscapes' with a group of forty Year 7 students. It
was televised for use on a local TV programme.
A school group from Warrington
(Year 6s) stayed at the Youth Hostel and used the Museum and our guided walks in Yewdale and the Coppermines
for work on an art-based cross-curricular project. Swiss mature
students used the Museum facilities while learning English and then took advantage of our expertise for guided walks; Mrs Elizabeth Prickett
has led 2-day Ruskin Lace Courses on site. All these intend to be
repeated. At other times,
Japanese students and Arts&Crafts groups from Lancaster University have
come to study the collections of Ruskin Lace and Langdale Linen. Having been approached by
Asylum Link Merseyside, we were able to help out some Asylum seekers
(Doctors from Liverpool) giving them a discount to visit the Museum and a
special walk up to the Coppermines. This enabled them to experience, as
one of them put it, "solace in the English countryside."
'THE BIG DRAW' which now happens every Autumn, (inspired by Ruskin
and supported by the Guild of St George) has stimulated our museum
visitors to sketch in situ. Art students from John Ruskin School have
worked on various subjects in Coniston using different media, and panels
showing the results of this work have been displayed in the Museum.
The talents of local interpreter/actor, Iain McNichol, have added an
important dramatic dimension to education at the Museum. He played a
schoolmaster on our Victorian day; he brought a group of actors to enact a
local legend for the May Extravaganza in 2000; he played Professor Ruskin during our Centenary celebrations
in August 2001. ( In a
short play which also involved a fellow-actor playing his valet Baxter,
Iain's Ruskin talked of his love of geology and his favourite walk up on
the Yewdale fells. (Shown in the image.)
What else can the Museum do for us ?
'WE AIM TO PLEASE, SO USE OUR EXPERTISE.'
We are flexible, and will fit in with specific curriculum needs and
cross-curricular activities. We have an information sheet available -
'Ruskin Museum : Looking at Educational possibilities' which covers
History, Geography, Art, Language, Science and RE/Citizenship through the
main key stages. We can also provide Teachers' Notes on a range of
subjects, with worksheets if required. Work notes and booklets are
available based on our recent 'Ruskin for All' project.
We need to work with schools, outdoor-centres, field-centres, colleges,
adult groups/societies, etc and would appreciate any input.