…is the title of our new conservation module that we are in the process of developing for our school visits. Together with Knole’s Learning Officer, Barbara, her team of volunteers, myself and Zena and Alex our Conservation and Engagement Assistants, we have designed a module that can fit in to the school visit day alongside the other activities available for schools to choose from.
At this stage we have devised the module for key stage 2 (ages 7 – 11). Our aim is to have a module suitable for all key stage groups. We began with deciding how much information about preventive conservation we wanted to try to teach. Looking at the agents of deterioration we decided to introduce this as the theme of the module but only focus on three of the agents that are very relative to Knole; light, dust and touching, and pest insects. Barbara came up with the brilliant idea of the Conservation Team battling against the enemies that are the agents of deterioration. We thought this might be a good concept that would capture the children’s imaginations.
We’ve put together a short presentation (mostly images) to introduce the subject of conservation and the agents of deterioration to the school group. It is aimed that this will last no more than 15 minutes (we’re still testing it). The rest of the session is all hands on and interactive with three activities based on light, pest insects and touch and cleaning. The group would be split in to three smaller groups. Each activity lasts 10-15 minutes, and the activities are swapped round each group.
The pest insect activity involves the children making their own pest insect traps, looking at insects we’ve collected from around the house and matching up the insect and mammal life cycles.
The light activities include taking light readings in the room, making a blue wool dosimeter (light monitor), and seeing how much ultraviolet light there is in sunlight coming through the window.
The third activity, focuses on physical damage from human touch and cleaning the group will use handling frames to see how different materials can deteriorate from touch, investigate dust samples and have a go at cleaning different objects including some dusty textiles.
Last week we delivered the session to the learning team volunteers to see what they thought of the module. They gave us some great feedback and now we’re making a few revisions. We hope to trial the module with a school group soon.