Bristol Museums Learning logo. Red background and images of artefacts: ammonite, greek pot, sea dragon skeleton, ration book

Museums Learning Newsletter Spring 2024   

Welcome to your spring edition of Learning newsletter. You may notice we have a new look!  Our webpages, social media and in-house display boards have had a makeover. We hope you’ll agree that the new look Museums Learning is fresher, simpler and better showcases all that we offer to learners and educators. 

Heading into April, we have made the difficult decision to increase the price of our workshops. We understand times are difficult at present, but like schools and families, we are facing increases in our overheads. We have done our utmost to absorb this, and have not raised our prices for over ten years. The good news is, however, that if you book and bring two or more classes for workshops on the same day, you'll receive a 10% reduction on ALL of the workshops!

We are now taking bookings at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery and M Shed for both facilitated workshops and independent group visits for Terms 5 and 6.

We look forward to welcoming you to our museums soon!

The Learning Team

Museums Learning - round up

Mary Anning and her astonishing ichthyosaur

During British Science Week in March, children learned about the incredible palaeontologist Mary Anning and her amazing discovery of an ichthyosaur. Our learning sessions, led by experts from the University of Bristol Dino Project, took children on a journey through the Making Waves displays and other related exhibits. They also enjoyed a captivating theatrical performance that depicted the story behind Bristol Museum's Temnodontosaurus fossil.

Wildlife Photography session for schools

Also during March, children from local schools visited the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition and took part in a workshop on photography techniques led by students from UWE Bristol. The children learned how to use professional-level camera equipment thanks to UWE Bristol who are our sponsors of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition.
oil painting of a rural landscape with farmhouse, pond and fields
The Hay Wain masterpiece by John Constable is coming to Bristol Museum & Art Gallery in May and will be the centrepiece in a exhibition exploring landscape through art. 

To celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2024, the National Gallery in London is loaning the painting to Bristol as part of its National Treasures exhibitions.

We have developed a Museums Learning session to accompany the exhibition, Constable in Bristol “Truth to Nature”. KS2 pupils will become the ‘art expert’, while discussing picture composition and techniques and learning specialist art vocabulary.  Don't miss this rare chance to experience a British masterpiece on display in Bristol.

Image: The Hay Wain - John Constable
various items laid out on brown sack: ceramic water bed heater, pewter plate, fossil, stone, flint axehead, piece of pottery

New: Make a Museum loan boxes

Introducing our new ‘Make a Museum’ school loan boxes.

Each box containing 10 intriguing objects that have been chosen to engage students with museums, explore museum jobs and inspire them to curate their museum in school.

The loan offer includes a free supporting webinar and is suitable for KS1-2 and is available for a five week loan period to give you plenty of time to discover and learn.
long rectangles of rusted slate pieces arranged on a parquet floor in a large circle

Home Educating families

Thank you to all those home educators who responded to our recent survey about what kind of loan boxes home educating families would benefit from. It really helps us to make sure we are meeting your needs as best we can.

We have a number of suggestions on loan box topics, contents and loan periods, so if you would like to give us your feedback on these please email 

As part of the upcoming exhibition Constable in Bristol: Truth to Nature we will be offering a special Discover Arts Award workshop in June for home educating families. 

Image: Delabole Slate Circle, Bristol, 1997, © Richard Long
person seated with hands together in a lime green top talking to camera. Background has glass cases with rocks in and bookcases

New film resources for educators

We've commissioned some new films for use as a launch point for discussion and to inspire students.

In our updated Creative Bristol resources, you'll find four new films featuring stories from professional local artists. Discover their journeys as they share how they entered their respective careers and what creativity means to them. Hear from a dancer, tattoo artist and illustrator, photographer and artist.

In celebration of the Making Waves display about Mary Anning and her ground-breaking fossil discoveries, we present four films featuring local women in geoscience. These films in the Rocks, Fossils and Dinosaurs resources are great additions to your curriculum, particularly during British Science Week and International Women's Day. They offer invaluable insights into the contributions of women in STEM.
interior of M Shed. curved display on history of protest. plaques on wooden sticks with messaging from the Black Lives Matter protest in Bristol in 2020

New: Extended display on history of protest 

There is now an extended display at M Shed about the history of protest in Bristol, with the permanent inclusion of the statue of slave trader Edward Colston, which was pulled down during a Black Lives Matter march in 2020.

For educators looking to engage their students in meaningful discussions about Bristol's involvement in the transatlantic traffic in enslaved Africans and the subsequent struggles for justice, this extended display provides a perspective on its continuing legacy.  

Bristol and Transatlantic Slavery: Origins, impact and legacy, a textbook suitable for KS3+, is currently £5 per copy instead of £8 (minimum order 5 copies per school).

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Bristol Museums
Bristol Museum & Art Gallery
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