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Education Projects at the Museum

MLA London Youth Residency Scheme

“One young man had lots of questions he wanted answers to and we explored how he might do this. Did he want to go back to the museum? He said ‘No, I’ve got too many questions, I need to have books.'"

In October 2006, the Museum became involved in one strand of a project with MLA London, working in partnership with the Oval House Theatre's "Back On Track" programme. The project worked with groups of young people, who, for various reasons, had been excluded from mainstream education, using unique museum spaces to catch the young people's attention, and engage them in creating something which could eventually be displayed in the museum itself. The other strand of the pilot project took place with another group of young people at Leighton House Museum.

Junior Cisse in the Museum : “… when I’m walking around inside the building,
I have so many questions in my head.”

On their visits to the museum, the young people took photographs and video footage of items in the collection, asking the curators about objects that were of particular interest to them. For Junior Cisse, it was the image of an 18th Century operation in the male theatre at St Thomas' Hospital that grabbed his attention, and he is currently painting his own version of the image. When complete, this painting will be on temporary exhibition in the museum itself.

Junior Cisse with the unfinished painting : "He is now producing a large-scale drawing …
and has started to use paints; he has never used paints before."



Following on from the project, the Museum is continuing to engage with Oval House Theatre, in order to provide follow-up visits for the group, and also intends to develop its links with the Park Centre. The art department of the school in particular is keen to work further with the museum.

Southwark Playhouse : A Bloodless Field

In April 2007, the Museum hosts the production of two medical dramas in "A Bloodless Field". As well as the theatre performances themselves, an Education Programme aimed at Key Stages 3-4 will be run by Southwark Playhouse, working in partnership with The Old Operating Theatre and Metal and Bone Productions.

On Monday 23rd April, a group of approximately 30 schoolchildren from the borough of Southwark will attend the theatre performances, after a talk and demonstration in the Operating Theatre itself, including handling sessions of old medical instruments. They will also be taken on a visit to St Mary's Hospital to meet working surgeons, and see the surgical equipment of today. The museum is also working with Southwark Playhouse and Metal & Bone to design an education pack specifically tailored to this production, which will use historical and medical material alongside arts-based, practical activities. This will be offered to schools as part of their follow-up package.

Bankside Open Spaces Trust : St George's Garden

Since 1999, Karen Howell, Curator of the Museum, has been involved with Bankside Open Spaces Trust, helping to create a herb garden at St George the Martyr Church inBorough High Street, cultivating many of the herbs as used at old St Thomas' Hospital. The Museum also has a stall at summer events in St George's Garden and Mint Street Park, allowing local children and young people to investigate herbal remedies, grinding their own herbs and learning about old medicines. This community outreach allows engagement in the Museum for young people who would otherwise be unlikely to visit, and has proved extremely popular.

Click here for details of upcoming events at St George's Garden


Due to the nature of the building it is housed in, it is not possible for some groups to visit the Museum. For Education purposes, this has particularly been the case with younger groups, especially Key Stage 1, where teachers are unwilling to take children on lengthy trips on public transport, or worry about safety on the Museum's spiral stairs. In 2006, the Museum devised an Outreach programme particularly for this age group, containing hands on demonstrations related to herbal medicines, information on Plague, and dressing up to compare changing surgical techniques over the past 200 years. The visits were popular with children and staff alike, and the Museum is keen to develop in this area. If you would like to book an Outreach visit, please contact the Museum on 020 7188 2679 or to discuss your requirements.*

*(please note, there is a charge for the Outreach service)

03/04/2007 SC