Think of a Museum... I Oxford Open Learning

Think of a Museum…

Museums are exciting places where you can see and do all sorts of wonderful things. Once, they may have been thought of as dry, dusty places. Today nothing could be further from the truth. If you want an adventure in the summer holidays, they can be one of the places to visit. They’re everywhere, and they get up to all sorts. If you like trains, cars, weapons, history or science, there will be something for you. There are those who we are most familiar with, like The Science and Natural History Museums and the Victoria and Albert Museum. But there are plenty of others too, each specialising in their own particular field. The V & A also runs the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood, for instance. All have plenty of interactive exhibits, though the record must belong to Halifax’s own “Eureka” National Children’s Museum, which has an impressive 400 “challenges”.

And what would you like to do in a museum? You could play a keyboard by walking on it at Techniquest in Cardiff, or build an igloo at Sheffield’s Weston Park Museum. For the train enthusiast, the National Rail Museum in York is a must – you can climb inside a steam engine and imagine yourself as a driver or coal-shoveller back in the day. If you prefer cars, particularly the very fast variety, you can find the two fastest at the Coventry Transport Museum in its “Thrust 2” and “Thrust SCC” exhibits. The more adventurous of you might also consider descending 90 meters into The National Coal Museum’s “Big Pit” in South Wales.

For something a bit more serious, the Horniman Museum in London has developed a partnership with local refugees’ and asylum seekers’ groups to put on a photographic exhibition of their experiences. The Museum Association is there to help museums modernise, develop partnerships and involve their local communities.

However, pride of place for the season must go to the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth. As I write, they’re about to re-open, as of 20th July, to show King Henry VIII’s flagship at its best. It was raised in 1982 and has been kept damp ever since. Now the temperature and atmosphere is scientifically controlled so that you can get to parts of the boat and see projections of its crew at work.

So now you don’t need a rainy day to go to a museum. Just go anytime and enjoy yourself!

Links to the websites of all the Museums mentioned here are given below.


The Science Museum

Natural History Museum

Victoria and Albert Museum

Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood

Eureka National Children’s Museum


Weston Park Museum

National Rail Museum

National Coal Museum

Horniman Museum

Mary Rose Museum

Coventry Transport Museum















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I'm semi-retired after a successful and much enjoyed career in education. Funnily enough, my last job was as a tutor for OOL. I taught on courses providing professional training for school support staff, as well as A level English Literature and English Literature GCSE. I've had an interesting career, in schools, colleges, adult education, the Arts and a few other bits and bobs. At one stage I was also a local authority inspector. Now I'm a school governor, and am enjoying watching my young grandchildren go through their own first experiences of school. Through these articles I hope to keep you up to date with different aspects of education news – and also to keep you interested!

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