“I haven’t the remotest idea yet what to do when I land,” Percy Powell-Cotton 1889. Unlike the Powell Cotton Museum’s founder, (Percy), Mrs Mellin had planned a fantastic day for our Year 4s and our trip was jam-packed with fun activities.
We began with a bang as were lead around the museum by the education staff. Our tour started with the collection of African animals that the Powell-Cotton’s had collected over time. We spoke about how different the attitude was to animals in the Victorian times and why there were so many stuffed animals. The children blew us away with their thoughtful answers and razor sharp observations.
After a quick snack of Chef Paul’s legendary homemade shortbread, we were straight back into action with an object handling session. Allowing the children to immerse themselves with the artefacts really improved their understanding. We met a taxidermy seagull names ‘Steven’, an alligator’s skull, elephant’s tooth and the centres ‘guess the mystery object’ – a wooden pillow.
Our final workshop of the day was an amazing pottery session. We first watched real footage taken by Percy in 1933 of a Sudanese potter named Mibitim. The children studied his technique and then got to apply his strategy to make their own clay pot. Each child’s creation was different and many drew ideas from artefacts that had inspired them in our previous sessions. After a quick look inside Percy’s house it was on to the gift shop (a staple part of any school trip and a chance for the children to apply their knowledge of money and the ability to stick to the £5 budget) and then back on the bus home.
“What an amazing trip!” chirped Kitty as we left the Powell – Cotton estate.