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Home  > Show and Tell  > Digging Up The Past With Young Curators

Digging Up The Past With Young Curators

We know all you Show Me Surfers are just mad about museums like we are. So we wanted to tell you all about Briscoe Primary School in Essex, where everyone has been working hard to create their very own museum.

Things got started early in 2006, when all the children at the school went digging out on the school field!

Ellie, Jamie, Sophie and Emma told us all about it. Here they are at one of the digging sites on a scorching summer day.

Back then it was wet and muddy, and there were plenty of slugs and other slimy things in the way, but they found loads of excellent stuff buried out there.

Shows four children's heads looking at a digging site on a school field.

Shows a girl looking closely at the ground.

"Before the digging, we drew maps of the school boundaries," says Jamie.

"And we used metal detectors to find out where things were," says Ellie.

"It was hard to tune them in, but I found what I think was a whisk. It was a fun thing to do."

Here she is remembering the muddy discovery!

And here's part of a chain found by one of her friends.

Could it be a bracelet? Or is it part of a machine?

Shows a section of a chain.

Shows an engraved buckle.

Some people found coins, thimbles and buckles (like this one), while others found bits of machinery and pottery and parts of objects. That made it harder to identify them.

"There were four pits and we had to dig to different levels", explains Emma. The oldest things - some of them hundreds of years old - were buried deeper. I found a tiger tooth!"

Ellie told us, "Everything we found had to be cleaned with a toothbrush.

We had to think what they were and make a label to describe them. It was a good way to find out about the history of the land."

Shows a boy holding two labelled objects.

Shows a piece of writing about a Victorian pickpocket.

Whatever they found, they used later to inspire stories.

Jamie found a coin from the 18th century. In English lessons, he then wrote this story.

It's about a Victorian pickpocket trying to pick the coin from the pocket of a rich man.

Nice work, Jamie!

Briscoe Primary School is built on what used to be a farm. There are maps in the museum showing the land as it was and timelines to show what's happened there over the years.

Briscoe's headteacher, Mrs Pilgrim, wants to help the childen recreate the farm on the school field as their next project!

Now, have you noticed something a bit fishy about the range of wonderful buried treasures the children found in their field?

Well, teachers wanted children to understand exactly how museums and curators work, so with the help of some artists they buried all of the objects, ready for the children to find. Very clever.

If you were going to set up a museum you could do it that way too, or you could stick to genuine buried treasures or things you've collected.

Shows a blue wall with labelled objects stuck on it.

All the objects that were dug up on the school site are now on display in the school's Museum. The picture above shows just one display. We think it looks really professional, don't you?

The children can visit it at lunchtimes and after school, and it's also been opened to parents and other local people.

Well done to all the pupils and staff at Briscoe Primary School on all their hard work. And thanks for opening your doors for Show Me to visit!

Don't forget, if you've got your own museum, at home or school, we'd love to hear about it, so get in touch now!

All pics © Jane Branson

Jane Branson