On 31 March, the schools team at National Museums Scotland hosted a #EdSkillsShare session on the GEM Twitter account. We had a great response and really enjoyed talking to people across the sector. Here are five things we thought it would be useful to share:

1) Many of us are using our time at home to get crafty, make new resources, try new sustainable crafts with old socks, create a recycled cardboard activity called Recycleasaurus, undertake some Japanese boro (visible creative mending) – time for a Virtual GEM Craft Club I wonder?

2) We discovered what SDGs are, and here’s some reading below so you can find out too:

3) People are enjoying a range of online training sessions. Here are a few which our staff are doing, or were recommended to us during the session:

4) Sustainability was a hot topic! People were interested to hear that we are:

  • Developing an Environmental Sustainability Toolkit for our Learning department. This toolkit will include information on the museums’ sustainability policies and departmental aims, a calendar that shows key environmental dates throughout the year and lots of sustainable activity, resource and stockist ideas. At present, this resource is specific to National Museums Scotland, but a general framework could be shared with other organisations (late Summer 2020) through GEM. Look out for more information coming on that one…
  • Creating an environmental grading system for evaluating workshops in future
  • Developing and running Earth Sciences & environmental specific workshops (such as our Powerhouse renewable energy session, Animals and Ecosystems handling box, and developing a new Natural Disasters workshop).
  • Including environmental issues where appropriate in other sessions (fur trade and emigration, Vikings & sustainable hunting, Second World War and recycling)
  • Creating hands-on activities for all topics using our Natural Science collections. For example, we run an activity on ancient Egyptian gods and the animals that represent them, using feathers, teeth, pelts and so on.We are also considering that it’s a great time to encourage daily outdoor time or exploring of gardens and window boxes to encourage people to understand their local ecosystems. They can then learn more about this when we can all visit our museums again.

5) People enjoyed our marketing film for schools and others use similar films – it reminds us all how much we enjoy having school pupils visit our museums and how much we’re missing it! We really enjoyed talking with people in the same situation as us. Thanks to GEM for hosting our Twitter Takeover and continuing these conversations.

Following our session, we’re offering guidance to Scottish museums who are looking to continue their work with schools during the lockdown period. Anyone working with schools in museums can also download this guidance document which contains some practical advice on continuing to develop work with schools during lockdown. Do get in touch if you have any questions.

Sarah Cowie
Learning Officer (Schools), National Museums Scotland

Featured image: Ruth Armstrong Photography