Children Help Trace Coventry's Footsteps In Time Online

By Roslyn Tappenden | 23 February 2005
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Shows a coloured image, drawn by a child, of a monk in a black robe with a gold belt.

Pupils from local schools have contributed artwork inspired by historic people, places, buildings and stories. © Coventry City Council.

Coventry’s kids can now log onto a new website that brings the city’s colourful history to life. Footsteps in Time, created by staff at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, is an exciting project that has enlisted the help of both children and adults and traces the city’s history right back to Anglo Saxon times.

Launched this week, the site features the work of children from Potters Green and Holbrook Primary Schools in Coventry who helped with its development and even supplied some of the artwork.

"The children are very proud to see their own drawings on there," said Teresa Whittaker, lifelong learning officer for history at the Herbert.

The children’s drawings are displayed alongside real life photographs, whose subjects include some of Coventry’s most recognisable landmarks and historic artefacts from the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum.

Shows a montage of images including a pocket watch, picture of a church, portrait of a woman, ring, a uniform and a pottery vessel.

Footsteps in Time uses objects, buildings and places to trace the city's history. © Coventry City Council.

The Lifelong Learning Team based at the institution spent over a year on the project and is delighted with its results.Robin Johnson, senior lifelong learning officer, said: "It’s grown out of a simple teaching tool to something much bigger. We hope it will help to blur the lines between the museum, home and school and free up children’s attitudes by emphasising the fun aspect of learning."

The new website includes a trail which takes in locations of special interest and importance around the city. Places featured include the new and old cathedrals, the Tudor Golden Cross Inn and Priory Row.

As well as reading about the history, visitors are able to look at objects, photographs, artworks and documents related to each location in minute detail that has never been seen before.

New ‘Zoom View’ technology means that paintings, maps and archives can be seen close up, revealing detail that cannot be viewed by the naked eye.

Shows a drawing of a figure with what appear to be wings.

Children are proud to have their work included. © Coventry City Council.

"I’ve been working here for 10 years" said Robin Johnson, "and I’ve seen things in these pictures that I had never noticed before. You can even see the cracks in the varnish on some of the oil paintings."

Current building work at the museum means that some of the collections will remain in storage until 2007. The new website offers an excellent opportunity to view the collections while the work is being finished.

A special Footsteps in Time event was due to take place at the Herbert Gallery on Monday, 21st February, where the city’s Lord Mayor, Cllr. John Gazey officially launched the site.

Footsteps in Time can be found via the Herbert’s website: www.theherbert.org/learning/footstepsintime.

Roslyn Tappenden is the 24 Hour Museum Renaissance Student Writer in the West Midlands region. Renaissance is the groundbreaking initiative to transform England's regional museums, led by MLA, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.

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