Sunday, 13 November 2016

Extraordinary Eyes!

During Autumn half term we ran a family event all about eyeballs! The event was run jointly with the Museum of Natural History and focused on people and animals and how they view the world through their eyes. Around 900 children took part in the activities over the three days and people enjoyed learning all about the amazing things that eyes can do.

A pair of 3d glasses on the top lefthand corner and a photograph of some people
3D glasses and one of Robert Hottot's photographs
 1994.62.54.2 © Pitt Rivers Museum
In the Pitt Rivers, one of the activities that families could take part in was making their own 3D glasses. This was inspired by one of our photographic collections, showcasing the work of French explorer Robert Hottot. Hottot travelled to various places in the world, including Africa, which he visited three times. One of these trips was to the Congo and the Museum now hold Hottot's collection of stereographic images from this trip. For the duration of his visit in the Congo, Hottot documented the journey through many stereographic images. These photographs can be viewed through a stereoscope and consist of two photographs that when viewed through the stereoscope make a 3D image. The photographs give a sense of Hottot and his desire to relive his memories, bringing them to life again through these photographs. During the event families could also look at a collection of photographs that were not from the Hottot collection through a real stereoscope to get the sense of what it was like to view these photographs with the original tool.

The Museum has transformed these photographs into 3D images. If you would like to view these photographs in 3D you can find them here:

Don't forget to wear your 3D glasses!

Carly Smith-Huggins
Families Education Officer

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Hands-on experience of museum learning for trainee primary teachers at Oxford Brookes!

We were lucky enough to have four trainee primary school teachers from Oxford Brookes placed in the Education team as they completed a module on learning beyond the classroom.  What better place to come than the Pitt Rivers, a place crammed full of objects and offering so many hands-on primary school sessions.  Here they give an account of their week at the Pitt Rivers:

"As part of our teacher training at Oxford Brookes University, we have spent some time working alongside the staff at the Pitt Rivers Museum.  We gained an insight into how the education department have been providing an engaging learning experience outside the classroom.  During this time we had the opportunity to observe and participate in some of the workshops they have on offer to schools, including hands-on investigation activities and an artefact treasure hunt!

One young woman holds up a leather cooking pot and the other holds up an axe
Wielding cooking pots and axes! © Pitt Rivers Museum

We observed both primary schools and home-schooled groups in a great workshop called Stone Age to Iron Age. We explored objects from the Stone Age, Bronze Age and the Iron Age, and had to think which object belonged to which time period. This session was fun and engaging, as it gave children a chance to handle the objects and really explore them to determine their purpose. Having the ability to interact with these objects maintained the children’s interest and encouraged them to use clear, considered reasoning to decide what the objects could be. Both we and the children learnt so much in these sessions.

We also had the chance to observe a guided tour of the museum relating to a particular theme. The children were immediately enthralled by the tour and benefited greatly from knowledgeable guides who were well practised in presenting the information in an interesting way. The guides were also able to answer questions posed to them by the children and involve the teachers in their tasks. Everyone involved in the tour, ourselves included, enjoyed learning new things about some of the objects which are on display. 

Exploring the Pitt Rivers © Pitt Rivers Museum

We fully enjoyed our time at the Pitt Rivers Museum and are grateful to the friendly and knowledgeable staff for allowing us an insight into what they do. We would definitely recommend that teachers look at what the Museum has to offer and take advantage of the opportunities available to them. There is much for children to learn from a trip to this Museum and, perhaps most importantly, they will certainly enjoy it!" 

-Darren, Sammy, Clare and Julia, trainee teachers at Oxford Brookes University.