A group of sixth-form students became tour guides for the day at an exhibition in London’s Guildhall Art Gallery as part of a nationwide initiative to get young people visiting museums and galleries.
The students from Trinity Catholic high school in Woodford, north London, were invited to work at the Victorians Decoded: Art and Telegraphy exhibition as part of a scheme run by Kids in Museums.
The charity works with museums, galleries, heritage sites and historic homes to encourage young people to engage with history and art.
It improves literacy because it’s different from the everyday and gives them something to write about – which is rich experience
After a receiving a two-week crash course at school on the history of the gallery’s artefacts and paintings, the students took up their posts across the exhibition’s four themed rooms.
The exhibition includes original code books, newspapers, a Roald Dahl-inspired messaging machine, telegraphic devices and telegraph cable samples.
Liz Bainbridge, who has headed the art department at Trinity for more than 30 years, saw the day trip as an opportunity to develop the students’ literacy skills.
“We had started looking at how we facilitate getting kids out into the world to experience things. It improves literacy because it’s different from the everyday and gives them something to write about – which is rich experience. Kids are eloquent when they’ve got something to tell and say.”
Alongside their guiding duties, the sixth-formers also had to run 10-minute activities for year 7 Trinity pupils, who also went to the exhibition, each linking to one of the artefacts on display.
Bainbridge said: “We wanted to get the year 7s involved as well. The kids went round and did 10-15 minutes with each set of sixth-form students who chose a couple of paintings that they then produced an activity round. It was really fascinating.”
Featured picture: The student guides at London’s Guildhall Art Gallery