Opening times

  • Monday Closed
  • Tuesday Closed
  • Wednesday Closed
  • Thursday Closed
  • Friday Closed
  • Saturday Closed
  • Sunday Closed
More information

Opening times

  • Monday Closed
  • Tuesday Closed
  • Wednesday Closed
  • Thursday Closed
  • Friday Closed
  • Saturday Closed
  • Sunday Closed
More information

Opening times

  • Monday 10am - 5pm
  • Tuesday 10am - 5pm
  • Wednesday 10am - 5pm
  • Thursday 10am - 5pm
  • Friday 10am - 5pm
  • Saturday 10am - 5pm
  • Sunday Closed
More information

Opening times

  • Monday Closed
  • Tuesday Closed
  • Wednesday 10am - 4pm
  • Thursday 10am - 4pm
  • Friday 10am - 4pm
  • Saturday 10am - 4pm
  • Sunday 10am - 4pm
More information

Some of the museums are currently running to Winter season opening times.  To find out more, visit the Opening Times page.

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Woodhorn Museum / About the Museum / Learning

Exciting learning opportunities for everyone as we share Northumberland’s stories.

Learning is central to the work we do as we discover, collect and share Northumberland’s stories.

Find out about some of the exciting opportunities we can offer for learners of all ages and abilities including school, family and lifelong learning.

Schools Learning

We’re making learning fun and bringing the past to life at Woodhorn Museum

We offer a range of enjoyable and educational activities both on and off-site. Woodhorn Museum itself offers a unique and immersive environment for children to discover their local mining heritage and culture.

Woodhorn Museum offers a unique and immersive environment for children to discover their local mining heritage and culture.

We offer schools a full day visit with a range of activities and workshop linked to the national curriculum for EYFS, KS1, KS2 and KS3.  School visits cost £5 per pupil.

At Woodhorn Museum, education groups can take part in a range of learning workshops, including:

  • Working Down the Pit KS1/KS2: Get dressed for dirty work down the coal mine where you’ll feel the darkness as you crawl through tunnels.  Discover the tools that helped keep the miners safe underground and find out what it was like to bend your back digging for coal.
  • Colliery Tour – All ages: Explore original colliery buildings and watch machinery whizz into action to illustrate how the shaft was sunk, how the mine was ventilated and how the cage lowered men into the ground safely.
  • The Art of Mining – All ages: Be inspired by the paintings of the Ashington Group, also known as the Pitmen Painters, and have a go at recreating some of their best loved work in a workshop which introduces pupils to some of the techniques used to create the paintings (including perspective, light and dark and details).
  • Home Life – KS1: Roll up your sleeves and discover what life was like for the miners’ wives.  Wash clothes and make ‘proggy mats’ in our 1930s kitchen.
  • Death, Danger and Disasters – KS2/KS3: Investigate past mining disasters using historical sources including documents, images, maps and letters.  An excellent introduction to historical sources and archives.
  • 1984/85 Miners’ Strike: Consider the conflicting view points in the 1984/85 Miners’ Strike as you explore the effect of the strike on families in Northumberland.  Research newspapers, letters, television footage and interview a former striking miner to help you decide – strike or scab?

For full details, download the Woodhorn Museum Teachers’ Information Pack.

“The children were engaged and active from the minute they stepped off the bus.  They were given a real sense of the past. A fantastic experience for all.”

“I had the best time ever! We all loved it. The best bit was the art gallery and coal town.”

School comments

Family Learning

Take part in enjoyable and educational family activities each time you visit.

Learn about our local history and heritage, museum collections and exhibitions through our fun, hands-on family activities.

Our family activities are always linked to our wonderful collections or our temporary exhibition programme, so see what delights are on offer when you next visit. There’s a fun hands-on activity waiting for family visitors each weekend and during the school holidays.

“I liked using my imagination and doing research.”

“When I was making this lamp, I thought about what it would be like in the mine.”

Customer comments

Off Site Learning

If you can’t come to our museums, perhaps we can come to you?

We offer outreach sessions, loan boxes, reminiscence sessions and downloadable resources.

For more information about any of our learning opportunities, take a look at our Learning pages or you can contact the learning team learning@museumsnorthumberland.org.uk

Outreach Sessions

The First World War

Prepare for trench warfare and learn the drills and skills of a newly recruited soldier.  Session includes: marching drills, target practice skills, map reading and fitness training.  Recreate the dramatic journey of Northumbrian George Buglass from enlisting in 1915 to action in the Battle of the Somme.

 

The Second World War

Discover what life was like on the Home Front in the North East through archives, objects and oral history memories.  Organise your food rations into a menu, practice air-raid drills, prepare the evacuation of school children and make your own gas mask.

 

The Lindisfarne Gospels and Life of a Monk

Take a peek at our copy of the Lindisfarne Gospels and find out about the life of the monks who created this important book, with quills, costumes and Celtic art.  Organise a Viking raid on the monastic community.

 

Loan Boxes

The Toy Box

Children and teachers alike will be delighted with the contents of the Toy Box which includes 45 assorted photographs featuring a boy with a rocking horse at a Victory Tea in Ashington; Children at Cullercoats playing with a cart and toy boat; and a wooden toy man. 31 books are also included in the box with titles ranging from 1958 ‘Happy Days painting and activity book’ to ‘Dora the explorer’. Puzzles, puppets, board games and more make up the 26 toys.

A copy of the toy box contents is available for download from this page.

 

The Seaside Box

A beach bag containing all you’d need for a day by the sea is just one of the items in the Seaside Trunk. You’ll also find 2 Edwardian swimming costumes for children; a basket of shells; and a photograph album with 50 photographs ranging from ‘A Holiday at Berwick upon Tweed Restores Youthful Vigour’ 1910; ‘Spittal Paddling Pool’ taken in the 1960s; a modern photograph of the children’s play area in 2008; and more. A selection of books is included too featuring ‘The Rainbow Fish’ by Marcus Pfister and ‘The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch’ by Ronda & David Armitag.

A copy of the seaside trunk contents is available for download from this page.

 

My Family

Take a look at family history with the My Family Box. It contains lots of archive photographs including photographs of all family members and a blank family tree. Also in the box are books including ‘Who Do You Think You Are – Be a Family Tree Detective’ by Dan Waddell. A selection of costumes including a 1960s girls outfit with a cardigan; a 1960s boy’s costume with shorts, shirt and tank top; and a girl’s dress/pinafore in Victorian style.

A copy of the family box contents is available for download from this page.

 

Downloadable Resources

Life in Ashington c.1900

The unit explores the lives of families living in a colliery village in north-east England at the end of the Victorian period and could form part of a study of Victorian childhood or an investigation into the impact of changes in work on the lives of children.

Pupils investigate characteristic features of daily life including school, home and leisure, using a range of sources from Woodhorn Museum, Northumberland Archives and the internet.

You can download copies of the Life in Ashington c.1900 resource pack and accompanying documents from this page.

 

Life in Ashington c.1900 (Key Stage 2)

The unit explores the lives of families living in a colliery village in north-east England at the end of the Victorian period and could form part of a study of Victorian childhood or an investigation into the impact of changes in work on the lives of children.

Pupils investigate characteristic features of daily life including school, home and leisure, using a range of sources from Woodhorn Museum & Northumberland Archives and the internet.

You can download copies of the Life in Ashington c.1900 key stage 2 resource pack and accompanying documents from this page.

 

Home life

By 1887 Ashington had become a model pit village under the ownership of the Ashington Coal Company, who had built 665 houses in 11 long rows running east to west.

The majority of these houses were two storeys high and had four rooms. Downstairs was a kitchen and a sitting-room, with two bedrooms upstairs. The toilets (netties) were outside in the back yard.

The houses were considered to be much more comfortable than the usual housing for working people, but as the miners’ families were often very large, there can’t have been much room.

You can download copies of the Home Life resource pack and accompanying documents from this page.

 

School Life

In 1873, a new school was established to educate the sons and daughters of the miners of Ashington. The money to build it was raised through church funds and public subscription, the most prominent subscriber being the Ashington Coal Company.

Before this, children had been taught at two small schools, but because of the growth in the mining industry in the second half of the 19th century, these schools were no longer sufficient to serve the needs of the increasing population. Also, by the end of the 19th century, new laws were passed which meant that more children were going to school. In 1880, elementary education was made compulsory for all children, although they still had to pay for schooling until the 1891 Free Education Act allowed most children to receive a free elementary education.

You can download copies of the School Life resource pack and accompanying documents from this page.

 

Let’s Go Fishing

‘Let’s go fishing!’ focuses on the fishing history of Newbiggin but can be used more generally as a resource to learn about working communities in the early 20th century.

It introduces Key Stage 2 pupils to archival sources such as maps, census records, newspapers and photographs and how they can be used as evidence.

Pupils investigate the changes that took place in the fishing village between 1860 and 1920 and use archive photographs and census records to learn about the jobs people worked in. They then become ‘history detectives’ to learn about a fishing disaster that took place in Newbiggin.

This learning resource was developed as part of a project with Dove Marine Laboratory in Cullercoats and two Newbiggin primary schools.

You can download copies of the Let’s Go Fishing resource pack and accompanying documents from this page.

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