Timeportals website brings Gloucestershire museum collections into the classroom

By Kathy Mulraney | 26 August 2011
a screenshot from a website showing a Roman mosaic
Page of the Timeportals website, showing the Talking Pictures activity from the Corinium Museum.
Time portals, www.timeportals.co.uk, is a free creative learning resource that supports historical investigation in the classroom.

Linking ten museums in Gloucestershire it uses paintings and artefacts as the basis for a variety of interactive activities, including jigsaws, posters, captions, timelines and storyboards.   

The activities are suitable for Key Stage Two children and are designed for use by a whole class on the interactive whiteboard, or pairs of children can use them on a PC with support.

All are in line with the National Curriculum and linked to generic learning outcomes, with detailed downloadable teachers’ notes.  Downloadable worksheets accompany some of the activities too and the general nature of the activities makes them useful in any classroom.

The site incorporates artefacts and pictures from Roman, Tudor, Victorian and modern times.  It includes a mosaic depicting the myth of Orpheus, an eighteenth century male doll and a Second World War gas mask.

Also included are pottery, tapestry, photographs, portraits and a wide variety of artistic, scientific and industrial objects.

They are designed for history lessons but the inclusion of museums such as the Holst Birthplace Museum, Edward Jenner Museum, Cheltenham Art Gallery and the Dean Forest Railway Centre means that the activities could also be used to for art, music or science.

There are three main activities, and each museum has two of them.  All contain a video of the museum curator talking about the picture or artefact.  

Talking pictures encourages in depth investigation of an artwork or photograph through questioning and drawing.  It includes differentiated drawing and cartoon caption activities.  

Amazing artefacts explores objects from the museums, with questioning and poster activities.  

Museum mystery encourages exploration through a differentiated jigsaw and a storyboard activity.

Detailed teachers’ notes for each object and picture enable detailed questions and answers.  Each activity could be used to take up a lesson, or as part of a wider art or history project.  

They give children the opportunity to examine pictures and objects, and learn from an expert curator in an interesting and stimulating way without the need to leave the classroom.
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