Royal Engineers Museum helps school produce history of Chatham Island

By Ben Miller | 09 March 2009
  • Archived article
Photo showing children examining archive material

Drafting tools from an ancient ship and an 18th century map are among the items curated by children at St Mary's Island Primary school in Chatham

A Kent primary school has opened its own local history museum as part of a Government initiative linking The Royal Engineers Museum and Kent Police Museum.

Suresh Khanna, Deputy Lieutenant of Kent, opened the archive of stories and artefacts collected by pupils from St Mary’s Island Primary in a ceremony at the Medway school.

The two-month study of Chatham’s past was part of a joint Strategic Commissioning effort between the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Children, Schools and Families, promoting collaborations between museums and educational institutions.

Photo showing adults and children in a museum

The Deputy Lieutenant of Kent launched the miniature museum

“The entire project was a joy to work on,” said Jeremy Kimmel, Events and Education Officer at the Royal Engineers Museum.

“It was a great experience for the museums, in that we got to work more closely with one group of students instead of just on a very short-term basis. Projects like this one are the way forward for education departments in museums around the country.”

Photo showing school children and boxed archive material

Pupils were allowed access behind the scenes at the museums

The exhibition includes drafting tools used in the design of HMS Ocelet, an 18th century map of St Mary’s Island before it became part of the Chatham Dockyard and rare gems from both museums.

Students worked with curators, directors, archivists and librarians behind the scenes, learning how to take care of objects and describe history to the public.

A picture of an artefact showing a black and white photograph of a military figure

The forage has been funded by public bodies including the DCMS and the DCFS

“It’s very reassuring to see that the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council and DCMS and DCSF are willing to support these schemes,” added Kimmel.

“I look forward to our continuing work with the school and to working with the Strategic Commissioning programme again in the future.”

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