Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any questions that are not covered here please contact us at admin@britishschoolsmuseum.org.uk and we will be pleased to help.

Questions

What does a typical visit consist of?

Primary, lower and middle schools typically book two facilitated sessions from the available options and a lunchtime session. The following facilitated sessions are available:

1840 Monitorial Lesson

1880 Gallery Lesson

World War Two lesson

Toys, Play and Design Workshop

People and Places Workshop

Life as an Evacuee Workshop

For more information please follow the links on the education home page.

There are slightly different arrangements for the GCSE Sociology and Education for All sessions, please see the session pages for full details.

What are the timings of a school visit?

At the time of booking you will have chosen which session or sessions you want to do and whether you want to stay to eat your lunch and try out drill (Victorian PE). These choices will then be organised into a visit programme for you based on the following timings.All sessions last 1 hour and there is a 10 minute gap between sessions to allow for smooth transitions and prompt starts.

The facilitated sessions slots are 10.00 – 11.00, 11.10 – 12.10, 12.20 – 13.20.

The lunch and drill sessions take place in the 11.10 and/ or 12.20 slot.

It is usually possible to have two classes at lunch at the same time.You are advised to arrive 15 - 20 minutes before your first session in order to have enough time to put coats and bags away, use the toilets, get into costume if necessary and be welcomed properly before starting your first session.

Your departure time should be around 10 minutes after the end of your final session (including lunch.) Afternoons are reserved for group visits so schools groups must depart by 1.30pm.

Please note that if you are only bringing one class another school may also be visiting on the same day. You will not have to share facilitated sessions with another group but may have to share the lunch space and other areas at lunch time. As sessions are delivered in parallel it will not be possible to adjust session timings on such days.

When can schools visit?

From February 2017: The museum is open for pre-booked school visits (including Sociology) on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from February half term until the end of November. Some Mondays may be available upon request. Fridays are reserved for public opening and adult groups, including college and university students on the Education for All programme.

How many children or classes can I bring?

We can accommodate up to two classes (maximum 33 pupils in each) on any of the sessions at the same time.If you want to bring three classes it is possible but requires that you book the 1840 Monitorial lesson alongside one other session and that two classes have their lunch at 12.20, while the third has theirs at 11.10.If you only bring one class you may share your lunch session with a class from another school.

Can we eat our lunch at the museum?

Yes.In common with the facilitated sessions the lunch session is an hour long. In addition to having time to eat your lunch you will also have time to take part in a short drill session (Victorian PE). You can also use our pop-up shop at lunchtime if you wish.

The slots for lunch are 11.10 – 12.10 and/ or 12.20 – 13.20.

It is usually possible to have two classes at lunch at one time. The 12.20 - 13.20 session is the standard session time but you can request lunch in the 11.10 slot if you prefer. If you are bringing 3 classes one class will eat in the 11.10 slot and the other two at 12.20.

There is no additional charge for this session but it must be booked at the same time as your other sessions.

Is there a gift shop?

If you would like your pupils to shop you must inform us in advance of your visit. Our gift shop is too small for school groups to use it comfortably or efficiently so a pop-up shop with a selection of our most popular items will be set up in the Schoolroom so that pupils can shop during lunchtime. Individual items will cost between 50p and £3.00. Alternatively you could pre-order and collect your items on the day. Please contact us for details.

Do you have disabled access?

Yes, but not to the entire museum. There is no step-free access to the air raid shelter, Gallery classroom and Headmaster’s house but the rest of the museum is fully accessible. This affects the 1880 Gallery lesson, WWII Evacuee lesson, Life as an Evacuee and People and Places.

For further details please see the additional information section on the relevant session pages and contact us on 01462 420144 to discuss options and alternatives if necessary.

What facilities are there at the museum on school visit days?

Somewhere to eat lunch – this will either be the Jill Grey learning Space (1 class) or you may eat in the Monitorial Schoolroom (2 classes) depending on group numbers and the organisation of your visit.

A pop-up gift shop – our small shop can be set up in the Schoolroom at lunchtime and stocks all sort of items from 50p upwards. Schools are welcome to shop during their lunch break, just make sure that we know you want to use the shop when you book so we can arrange for a volunteer to come and open it for you.

Where does the coach stop or park?

Coaches can pull up on the road outside the museum to drop off and pick up but there is no coach or car parking on site. There are a number of car parks in Hitchin with coach parking available at Woodside car park. More details can be found here.

Please ensure that you pull up on the museum side of the road so that groups do not have to cross the road to access the Museum. If you choose not to do this there are pedestrian crossings further down the road. For everyone’s safety British Schools Museum volunteers and staff have been directed not to help groups cross the road.

Can we do a pre-visit/ risk assessment?

Of course, just phone us on 01462 420144 to arrange a time.

How do we book?

You can book by contacting us on 01462 420144.

What is the cost of a visit?

The cost for our standard primary programmes is £90 per facilitated session (lesson or workshop). There is no charge for the lunch and drill session but this can only be booked alongside facilitated sessions. There is a maximum of 33 children per session.

Sociology and Education for All sessions are typically charged at £6 per participant depending on content and duration.

How do we pay?

Your booking form will include details of the cost of your visit. Once your visit is confirmed you will be sent an invoice. You can pay by BACS or bring a cheque on the day.

We want to dress up, what should we wear?

The children who came to the British Schools during the Victorian era were poor but not destitute. They would not have worn particularly smart or fancy clothes but would have taken care to be clean and neat.

Here are some suggestions:

Girls: • Hair off faces • Wear plain hair ribbons, no modern slides or fastenings • Knee length plain socks • Calf length skirts if possible • Long sleeved dark coloured jumpers OR plain dark dresses • Plain dark shoes

Boys: • Dark trousers tucked into knee length plain dark socks • Plain dark shoes • Plain long-sleeved jumpers over white (or plain) shirts

And for adults who want to enter into the Victorian spirit:

Women: Suitable white or dark blouse or jumper and long dark skirt, thick tights and dark flat shoes. Hair fastened up and off the face. Shawls and hats can be worn.

Men: This can be more difficult. Plain dark trousers, white shirt, collar up, silk scarf (or similar) tied as a cravat, waistcoat (unfortunately we don’t have any adult sized ones), dark jacket, dark shoes.

Everyone: Remove as much of the 21st Century as possible i.e. jewellery, watches, nail varnish, make-up.

In summertime white blouses or shirts may be worn instead of jumpers but at any other time of the year we strongly recommend jumpers and other warm layers. Our rooms have high ceilings and even with the heating on full it can be very reminiscent of Victorian times (cold!) so please make sure everyone comes warmly dressed.

Do children need to dress up in costume?

Not at all, many schools come in their school uniform. However, if you can we would encourage you to come in costume as it adds to the experience and helps the children (and adults!) get into character.We have pinafores, collars and waistcoats available for the Victorian programmes and (depending on the balance of boys and girls in your classes) can usually manage to dress 3 classes in pinafores and collars. We have waistcoats for 2 classes.

Getting into costume can be quite time consuming so please take this into account when you plan your arrival time (see information about timings for school visits).Whatever you wear please remember that our buildings are old and our rooms have high ceilings. Even with the heating on full it can be very reminiscent of Victorian times (cold!) so please make sure everyone comes warmly dressed. Jumpers are essential unless it is really warm.

What activities do you offer children and young people with special needs?

Children and young people with special needs are welcome to book on any of our standard sessions and we will adjust to your needs on the day. Alternatively, we are happy to customise any aspects of our programme to meet your needs – please contact us to discuss your requirements and we will see what we can do.

What activities do you offer KS1 children?

We have KS1 versions of all our sessions; please see the session information pages for more details.

What activities do you offer KS2 children?

We have KS2 versions of all our sessions; please see the session information pages for more details.

What activities do you offer KS3 and KS4 students?

Education for All can be adapted to any age range from KS3 upwards.

GCSE Sociology is designed to support the Education option topics but can also be adapted as needed.

Alternatively we are happy to customise any aspects of our programme to meet your needs – please call us to discuss your requirements and we will see what we can do.

What activities do you offer for further and higher education students?

Education for All is designed for further and higher education students and can be adapted to focus on your specific area of interest. Alternatively, we are happy to customise any aspects of our programme to meet your needs – please call us to discuss your requirements and we will see what we can do.

Do you visit schools?

Yes. We can come to you and deliver a 1880s style lesson in your classroom. A lesson typically lasts an hour but we can be flexible to fit in with your school day. Toys, Play and Design is also available as an outreach session. The cost is £90 per session plus travel expenses and you can book by contacting us on 01462 420144.