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Students at Elfed High School in Buckley examining a medieval shoe.

Students at Elfed High School, Buckley, examining a medieval shoe.

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Students at Neston High School examining a medieval tile, keys, pilgrim badge and shoe.
Students at Neston High School examining a medieval tile, keys, pilgrim badge and shoe.

Before the recent school closures, two academic departments from the University of Chester worked with the Grosvenor Museum in Chester to deliver an enrichment experience across schools in the region.

Dr Katherine Wilson (Department of History and Archaeology), Dr Mike Bird and Daryn Egan-Simon (Faculty of Education and Children’s Services) and the Grosvenor Museum worked together on the schools project, which is part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded network ‘Mobility of Objects Across Boundaries 1000-1700’. This provided the underpinning research for the collaboration.

Dr Katherine Wilson, Senior Lecturer in Medieval History and Principal Investigator of the network said: “The AHRC network is designed to reconsider the history of material culture in the period AD 1000-1700 and to understand the impact and consequences of mobility of objects to larger historical transformations. Our study started with everyday objects to focus on their mobility, and these objects (shoes, pilgrim badges, chests, tiles and keys) have been drawn from the extensive collections of the Grosvenor Museum in Chester. We wanted to engage and involve schools and students with the project research.”

Dr Mike Bird, Head of Initial Teacher Education at the University of Chester, said: “The PGCE History students (trainee teachers) studying in our Faculty of Education and Children’s Services produced tailored workshops on the medieval and early modern everyday objects from the Grosvenor Museum collection, which they then delivered to pupils in The Catholic High School, Chester; Padgate Academy; Elfed High School; and Neston High School.”

Daryn Egan-Simon, Senior Lecturer in History Education at the University, added: “Central to the enrichment experience was that the school students were able to handle and examine the original artefacts in their classroom setting. Students were asked to produce a piece of creative writing on the objects at the end of the session, and their observations and conclusions revealed their high level of knowledge on the past and added to the project’s understanding of the mobility and transformations in material culture AD 1000-1700.”

Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “I am delighted that the objects from our collections provided such a hands-on and informative experience for school pupils. We are looking forward to further collaboration with these departments to produce primary and secondary educational resources for this school experience as well as a possible exhibition on the project.”

Further information and contacts can be found on the project website: https://mobilityofobjectsacrossboundaries.wordpress.com

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