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The Mobile Museum project is supporting an exciting new initiative in object-based learning. In Autumn 2018, two London primary schools were selected to pioneer the development of cross-curricula learning materials and co-curation of two school museums.  

The two schools we are working with are Wilberforce Primary School, Queen’s Park, in the London Borough of Westminster, and St Monica’s Primary School, Hoxton, in the London Borough of Hackney.

The Mobile Museum project is a unique collaboration between Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Royal Holloway, University of London. Our learning project aims to:

  • research how and why plant-based objects from Kew were sent to 700 schools across the UK during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries 
  • construct temporary museums devoted to plant-based objects in two London primary schools, using an innovative whole-school approach 
  • create supporting cross-curricular educational materials that link to science, geography, history, arts, design and technology, and language learning for Key Stage 1 and 2 

The project includes a series of workshops for teachers, visits to Kew, classroom-based activities for pupils and the creation of a Teachers' Handbook on Curating a School Museum (2019)The project culminates in July 2019 with the launch of two museums at Wilberforce and St Monica's. In co-curating these exhibitions, pupils and teachers will use plant-based objects (both raw materials and artefacts made from them) that are culturally significant for them. 

Pedagogic approach 

The project takes a whole-school approach in which every pupil and teacher is involved. This also extends to the wider community so parents and caregivers can contribute by identifying culturally significant objects for curation and display. The process of developing educational resources is participatory, with teachers involved in choosing materials that best support their teaching. These resources will support the National Curriculum, 21st century learning, Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) development and Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education.

School selection criteria

As this is an outreach project aiming to enable Kew to reach more diverse audiences, the criteria used to identify potential partner schools included measures of disadvantage and cultural diversity.  On this basis, we contacted 34 schools across London of a size which could enable a whole-school approach. Following a shortlisting process, Wilberforce and St Monica's School were selected to participate. 

The Mobile Museum project is supported by a grant from the Arts & Humanities Research Council.



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