Why do we Remember

During this ‘Inspiring Learning Session’ learners will explore why we use poppies as a national symbol of remembrance. They will discover why the First World War is so significant to Remembrance Day by exploring the museum trench. Leaners will discover the origins of Remembrance Day and why it is held 11th November and what other symbols and ways we remember. Each learner will create two poppies, representing people involved in conflicts past and present. One poppy will be left at the Museums remembrance memorial and the second can be taken away.

Outbreak to the Trenches

In this multisensory ‘Inspiring Learning Session’ learners will gain an understanding of what daily life was like for soldiers bound for and in the trenches. Based initially in First World War galleries, learners will discover how recruitment of soldiers into the Royal Engineers significantly increased on the back of Kitchener’s propaganda campaigning. In the trench gallery, learners will find out how soldiers’ lives were run by routine whilst living in horrendous conditions. Finally, learners will discover what soldiers did to pass their time in the trenches using objects from our handling collection.

Local Lad: James McCudden VC

During this ‘Inspiring Learning Session’ learners will unearth the story of James Thomas Byford McCudden, who was born and raised in Gillingham. They will discover what role he performed in the Royal Engineers and subsequently in the Royal Flying Corps. Learners will find out what significant responsibilities McCudden had during the period of the First World War as a mechanic and later as a fighter pilot on the ‘Front Line’. The group will view a wing of an early aeroplane, similar to the wings of the aircraft McCudden would have flown. Learners will then have the opportunity to understand why McCudden was such a signification individual, by viewing his real Victoria Cross presented to him on 2nd April 1918 ‘For most conspicuous bravery, exceptional perseverance, and a very high devotion to duty’.

Engineering Bridge: First World War

In this ‘Inspiring Learning Session’, learners will head into the Museum’s own Bridge Study Centre to discover that even as long ago as Roman times, engineers have been capable of building bridges at awe-inspiring scales. Learners will discover the fundamental engineering concepts behind building bridges and how simply bridges stand up. They will see different pictorial examples of eye-catching civil engineering bridge designs, before being split into two engineering teams. The teams will be set the challenge to construct an example of a First Word War bridge using real 100 year old Inglis Bridge Kit, without any support from leaders. The two teams will have the opportunity at the Bridge Study Centre to view up close the scale models of military bridge kit.

Bridge Design and Construction

In this ‘Inspiring Learning Session’ learners will be split into teams to compete against one another. They will build a simple bridge to withstand as much weight as it can hold before collapsing into the river bed. In their teams learners will have to bridge between the gap of a wooden platform using limited materials such as card, lolly sticks and string. Teams will have crucial time to plan their bridges before constructing them. After the bridges have been built, each team will talk through their bridge designs, using their plan to highlight design features. Each team’s bridges will then be tested by placing weights in the centre of the bridge to see how many kilograms it can hold. The team that builds the bridge that can support the greatest weight will be the winning team.

The Art of the Medal

In this hands-on ‘Inspiring Learning Session’ learners will uncover the significance that medals hold to soldiers and their families. Learners begin by viewing the medals on display in the Victoria Cross Gallery, then focusing on James McCudden’s individual medals. Learners pick which of McCudden’s medals they want to replicate by viewing the close up pictures. They then recreate one of McCudden’s medals using pens to colour onto fabric and tools to carve into clay. Medals can be taken away at the end of the day to create a mini museum display.

The Art of Camouflage

During this ‘Inspiring Learning Session’ learners will discover how the Royal Engineers used the art of deception to camouflage basic kit and equipment. In the First Word War galleries learners will see examples of how the Royal Engineers designed camouflage nets to hide tanks, and painted false tanks and railway tracks onto canvas. They will discover how these techniques were all used to deceive the enemy and even how they created false trees equipped with periscopes, which could be used as look out towers. Learners will have the opportunity to investigate the workings of a periscope using light reflection and mirrors, by creating their own.