History workshops for schools

Learning opportunities for adults and children at The Oxfordshire Museum - or at your school.

Closed from Thursday 5 November

Following government guidelines The Oxfordshire Museum will close on 5 November and re-open on 2 December.

Contact the education team for details of services still operating.

Schools can book a workshop at The Oxfordshire Museum or we can come to you. All workshops feature a range of practical, hands-on activities using a wide variety of artefacts and photographs.

Your workshop leader will run the session and provide all necessary materials. A detailed teacher’s pack is available for all sessions.

If you would prefer a virtual session, please contact us to discuss your requirements – our initial offer will take the form of a selection of pre-recorded videos focusing on local examples from our collections, to enrich your classroom work, or ‘live ask the expert’ sessions.

Please note: we can only provide in-school workshops for schools in Oxfordshire.

To book a visit, or discuss your options contact the Learning and Access team.


Schools will be invoiced.

Workshops at The Oxfordshire Museum (available Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) cost £85 per class.

Workshops in school - the museum comes to you

  • FS and KS1 - 1 hour minimum, cost  £99 per class, per workshop
  • KS2 - 1.5 hours minimum, cost  £120 per class, per workshop 

Please note all charges apply to 31 March 2020 and are subject to an annual review by the County Council


Dinosaur Workshop FS, Years 1 - 3, 10am - 12noon

This workshop uses the museum's unique dinosaur garden, with its life-size Megalosaur, genuine fossilised footprints and 'living fossils', to provide a stimulating educational experience for your pupils. The interactive gallery, fossil role-play and practical measuring tasks ensure that the children are constantly engaged.

Roman Workshop KS2, 10am – 12.30pm

Combine a visit to the museum's fascinating Roman Gallery with a stimulating workshop. Dress up as a Roman citizen and learn what your clothing says about your status. Handle genuine Roman artefacts found in Oxfordshire. Learn what made the Roman army so effective before being drilled and, possibly, decimated!

The Anglo-Saxons in Oxfordshire – invasions, settlements and kingdoms KS2 10am – 12.30pm

The formation and development of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms up until the time of the first king of all England is complicated and confusing. That’s before the Vikings get involved!

Armed with helmets, swords and a good dose of role-play, we will help to make sense of it all. Marvel at amazing discoveries such as the Hanney Brooch, enamelled spear and pattern-welded sword then make your own treasured grave goods.

Life Within Living Memory/Victorian Workshops KS1 and 2, 10am - 12 noon

All workshops combine a focused visit to the Victorian gallery with handling and/or role play.

Sit up Straight (Victorian Schoolroom) A costumed school mistress will drill your pupils in Victorian rules and regulations in a traditional Victorian schoolroom experience. School uniforms, slates, dip pens and punishments all provided!

Spit and Polish (Servants/Houses and Homes) Put on your aprons and roll up your sleeves as you are put to work doing the laundry, polishing the silver and cleaning the boots. A wide selection of genuine artefacts are available for handling.

Time to Play (Toys and Games) Experience the world of play as it would have been enjoyed in Victorian times. Try your hand at a wide variety of indoor and outdoor toys then make a peg doll of your own.

The Marvels of Invention KS2: Explore some of the early developments in photography, cinema and 3D images. Pose for a photograph in Victorian costume and watch a magic lantern show. An amazing opportunity to get close up and hands-on with vintage equipment, including a magic lantern, stereoscopic viewer and camera obscura.

Workshops at your school

Key stage 1 workshops - 1 hour minimum

Oxford’s Motoring Legend Follow the amazing story of William Morris, Lord Nuffield, from a lad mending bicycles to the creator of one of the longest established car plants in the world.  A flurry of activities, artefacts and money bags show how Britain’s greatest benefactor changed the face of Oxford

Are we nearly there yet? (Transport) This hands-on, drama based workshop is an ideal introduction to history and object handling for the youngest members of the school. Looking back to the early days of motoring, we take a day trip, complete with horn, goggles and starting handle!

Have seaside holidays changed? Climb aboard the charabanc to ’travel’ back in time and compare seaside holidays from 100 years ago, 50 years ago and the present day. A wide variety of photographs, objects and costumes help bring this topic to life as we investigate beach wear, entertainment and early photography.

Have toys changed? What would your grandparents have played with? Compare and sort old and new toys, play with a wide range of replica items then make an old fashioned toy to keep.

School Days How has schooling changed since the introduction of the 1890 Education Act? Slates, dip pens, free milk, poetry, the abacus, and the cane! Photographs, objects and lots of practical activities help bring the past to life.

This workshop can link with the Have Toys Changed? workshop to create a whole ‘Changing Childhood’ experience.

What happened on washday? Experience all the different stages of Great Grandma’s washday using authentic washday items. Shoulder the yoke to collect your water from the river, pound the clothes in the dolly tub with a posser then put them through the mangle. Once the clothes have dried on the line, use flat irons and sock stretchers to make them look as good as new.

The Two Queens Find out how life changed from the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1 to that of Queen Victoria. Model the latest fashions, see how everyday objects developed and try your hand at writing in the manner of yesteryear.

Key Stage 2 workshops - 1.5 hours minimum

Anglo-Saxon Village Life Discover how the Anglo-Saxons made and decorated their clothes and try on the latest fashions! Compare the pottery of the Roman and Anglo-Saxon periods. Each child will make their own pot and weave their own braid during this workshop.

Anglo-Saxon Art and Culture Learn about the styles and patterns which were used on Anglo-Saxon jewellery and use this knowledge to design and make your own copper brooch. Explore the kind of grave goods which have been found in burial sites around Oxfordshire and follow the fascinating story of the recently discovered Hanney brooch.

Who would want to be a Roman? Deduce what made the Roman soldiers so effective by examining our fantastic replica armour and weapons. Handle genuine Roman objects found in Oxfordshire and dress up as a Roman citizen to learn what your clothing says about your status. Using a life-sized replica and a 3D model, explore how a groma helped to build those famous straight roads.

Trying on the Tudors: With cod pieces, bum rolls and pork pie hats, raise a smile as you try on Tudor fashions for the rich and poor. Discover some of Shakespeare’s more colourful language, writing, as he did, with a quill and ink. Handle intriguing artefacts and learn more about the Golden Hind from our fabulous model.

Oxfordshire at War (WW2) What did it feel like to wear a gas mask? How terrifying was an air raid? Why did they make rag rugs? Using a huge range of local documents and photographs from the time and a fascinating collection of authentic objects, discover the answers to these questions and make a rag rug of your own.

From Elvis to Abba Pupils are encouraged to engage with the spirit of the 50s, 60s and 70s using a huge range of authentic artefacts, focusing on major historical events, technological change and everyday life. Who will become the Decades Quiz Champions?

Pop-Up Exhibition - Create your own fantastic exhibition in just half a day! A box of intriguing artefacts, documents and photographs hold the key to the life of a mystery person. It is up to each group to piece together the evidence, make deductions and organise the information in order to produce and present their display. This engaging workshop encourages higher-order reading skills and provides the teacher with a wealth of follow-up material.

Rockin’ Rocks & Fabulous Fossils - This practical, hands-on session covers many elements of the Science curriculum, including rocks and fossils and evolution. Pupils will learn to distinguish between a rock and a mineral and identify different samples according to their characteristics. We consider what we can learn from a fossil and have the chance to handle some amazing specimens, including a mammoth tooth!

Find out more

For more information about our Museum box loans are also available, for more info download our box loan catalogue (pdf format, Kb) or contact us