Heritage workshops

The Museum of Wigan Life tells the story of the people and places of the borough through our vast collection of historic artefacts, ranging from prehistoric right through to the present day. We offer a selection of workshops for school groups which support learning across the curriculum. Pupils develop their skills through a range of activities including object handling, drawing, writing, observation, discussion, and immersive experiences. We want children to get to know their local museum and feel inspired by what they find. Each session costs £90 with a reduced rate of £80 when you book two or more workshops.

For the autumn 2022 - spring 2023 terms we are offering schools up to four free of charge workshops in exchange for feedback on our sessions which will be sent out after your visit. If feedback / survey is not received, schools will be charged as normal for workshops.

Workshops last 90 minutes and are delivered at the Museum of Wigan Life on the following days and times. Please note we can only deliver to one class at a time.

  • Mondays, 10am - 11:30am and 1pm - 2:30pm.
  • Tuesday mornings, 10am - 11:30am. 

Key Stage 1 and 2 workshops at the Museum of Wigan Life

Black Diamonds: Coal Mining in the Wigan Borough

In this fully interactive workshop, pupils will learn about the history of coal mining in Wigan Borough through a range of sources in both the museum and Wigan Local Studies. They will have access to a range of artefacts and documents including archive images, maps, newspaper articles, safety equipment, clothing, and original mining tools which will help to deepen pupils’ knowledge and understanding of mining in the local area. This workshop will inspire pupils to discover how local men, women and children worked in the mines, investigate local pit disasters, find out about local collieries, learn more about how Wigan coal powered the borough, brought wealth and progress to the local towns and more.

Your Identity

Identity can be a challenging concept for children to understand. We explain this through discussion and making the link to Wigan. In this workshop we will inspire children to find out more about the history of where they live and their school. We want them to be proud of their local area and understand that things were very different in the past. The resources we use show Wigan Borough’s links with the industrial revolution including maps that show the coal mines and cotton mills that contributed to the development and wealth of Britain.

The workshop starts with a discussion about the meaning of ‘Identity’ - how we are identified through documents and the things we do in our lives. These things make you the unique person you are and include your school and the place you live. Using original museum objects and local studies resources, pupils will understand what identity means to them and encourage them to be proud of who they are and where they live and where they go to school.

Victorian Box of Memories

This hands-on interactive session will show how people lived and worked in Wigan during Victorian times. Through images and objects, the everyday lives of local people will be explored, and pupils will learn what life was like over a 100 years ago. The session covers work and school life, inventions, the Industrial Revolution, and how the local area changed during the Victorian era. Children will understand the similarities and differences between the older objects and things we use today. Pupils will talk about the objects using words and phrases to describe things from the past. These objects were all used in our local area. Through handling historical and contemporary objects, the session will encourage discussions around each of the objects we have looked at - can they recognise the object; do they remember them all? What surprised them the most? Did they realise that people would have used different things a long time ago? Through detective work they will discuss the differences between the old and the new and decide whether life was the same a hundred years ago compared to today.

Ancient Egypt

In this hands-on interactive session pupils will begin by exploring how we came to know so much about the Ancient Egyptians through the archaeologists who first discovered this magical civilisation. They will learn all about daily life in Ancient Egypt, an ancient writing called hieroglyphs, mummification, pyramids and more. Together we will then unlock the local connection by finding out how a Wigan lawyer named Sir John Scott came to have such an amazing collection.

Through objects, film, dressing-up and hands-on activities the class will learn all about mummies, experience the journey to the afterlife through the Book of the Dead, be an archaeologist tasked with unearthing and documenting any treasures they find and learn all about Wigan’s priceless artefacts with a fact-finding trail.

Wigan’s Roman Bath House

Did you know Wigan was once a Roman town called Coccium?

2000 years ago, the Romans set up camp locally and stayed here for around 250 years. A bathhouse was discovered only a few years ago when the Grand Arcade shopping centre was built. The exciting artefacts that were unearthed during that excavation are not only a part of the history of the town, raising its status as a significant Roman settlement, but a major part of the history of Britain.

This hands-on, fully interactive workshop uses a range of sources and original objects to tell the story of how the Roman’s lived, how they got here and what life was like all those years ago.

Further information

If you wish to find out more information please contact us.

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