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street scene from Beamish museum
street scene from Beamish museum

Museum trip bridges generation gap

In November of 2016, the Greencoat Drone Hill Community Fund made an award of £610 to Reston Primary School Parent Forum to contribute to the costs of various trips for school and nursery pupils.

Reston Primary in Berwickshire is a school of 50 pupils. The school’s Parent Forum fundraise for activities that support the (non-statutory) wider education, development and well-being of the children. These include annual topic-related trips, sports equipment and reading materials.

The grant included transport costs for a trip to Beamish Museum in County Durham by 21 Primary 5, 6 and 7 pupils, two staff members, and 10 older people from the local community. Only the Beamish trip went ahead because of staff changes at the school. The cost of transport for the Beamish trip was £295, the remainder of the funding was returned to the Fund.

The trip was part of an existing intergenerational project facilitated by Scottish Borders Council that seeks to connect with and learn about past work and leisure activities and customs.

Beamish is a world-famous open-air museum, telling the story of life in North East England during the 1820s, 1900s and 1940s. Activities aimed at school visitors include a re-creation of a Victorian classroom and visits to a traditional sweet shop from 1900.

The trip took place in June 2017. Before this, the pupils took part in an associated drama project run by Borders Youth Theatre and funded by Drone Hill Community Fund. This, in conjunction with the trip, helped consolidate pupils learning about how childhood was in the past, plus intergenerational understanding and community spirit at the school.

Feedback on the trip from both the younger and older participants was excellent.

These are some comments from children and elderly participants:

"The children were magnificent, and they took in lots of information and asked lots of questions… The whole project with the class was great and beneficial to adults and children. It would be good to do this again in the future"

"I enjoyed seeing how the juice was made and bottled up, and we got to sample the juice. The old sweet shop was good."

"We enjoyed going on the tram and looking in the old houses."

"The old school was very different from ours, and the teachers were very strict."

"We learned about the games they played in the playground, and we tried these out."

"It was interesting learning about real-life experiences, seeing things at Beamish and hearing stories from the older people that came with us."