About the Bronze Age Handling Box Project
This project was led and managed by the Education Department at the National Museum of Ireland in partnership with the Department of Education and Skills’ Education Centre Network, St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra and the Professional Development Service for Teachers. The project arose out of an ambition at the National Museum of Ireland to enable young people and educators to learn about the past through the study and handling of objects.
The project’s principal aim was to enrich the teaching and learning of history through object-based handling and support cross-curricular opportunities at primary and post primary levels. It grew out of an expressed need, articulated by teachers of History, to create a resource that would stimulate and engage young people in a creative and innovative way with their past. It was also designed to complement the new Junior Certificate curriculum.
At the core of this project is a handling box filled with replica handling objects and raw material and thematically based on the Museum of Archaeology’s Bronze Age collections. Teachers were consulted on the theme selected for the resource and they chose the Irish Bronze Age.
A pilot phase involved five education centres namely Navan, Dublin West, Mayo, Limerick and Drumcondra facilitating the testing of the contents of the box and the accompanying resource material with primary and post primary schools. Findings from this pilot phase were very positive and resulted in the development of 42 boxes. These were made available to education centres throughout Ireland. An important element to this project was the development of this microsite.
These 42 handling boxes are currently located within Education Centres for loan to all schools. A variety of learning materials accompany each box, including a Resource Book which provides teachers with a range of pedagogical strategies to enhance the teaching of history.
Feedback from teachers and students on the value of this Handling Box resource has been positive to date. Teachers tell us that students’ engagement with the resource enables them to learn about the Bronze Age in Ireland in a fun, active and thought-provoking way. Using an enquiry-based approach, the handling box provides opportunities for students to develop literacy, language and problem-solving skills. The resource stimulates students’ curiosity and interest in the past and appeals to a range of learning styles and ability levels. We have already provided professional development workshops to 25 teachers from around the country, who in turn will train other teachers in the use of this resource in the classroom.
This project has been a real partnership in practice between stakeholders in the formal education and cultural field. It demonstrates what can be achieved when the education and museum sectors come together to share expertise and resources. This collaborative project also reflects the principles and values outlined in the Arts in Education Charter, jointly produced by the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
For further information about the Bronze Age Handling Box Resource Project contact the Museum’s Education Department Bookings Offices at .