The mission of the American Museum & Gardens is to stimulate and inspire people of all ages to further their understanding of the richness and complexity of American culture. We offer the following learning programmes:
- Onsite – Visiting us
- Outreach – Visiting you
- Video live sessions
- Learning from home
We want your visit to be inspiring and motivational. We will give opportunities for your learners to apply critical thinking to what they see. Come and make contact with real objects from our history. We will give context to our handling collection with links to real lives, stories and places so pupils can really understand.
- Being hands on with real objects
- Exploring areas in the museum, questioning your ideas with our learning guides
- Group discussions of some big concepts and linking those to real events and people
- Take away creative and learning materials to continue reflecting on your visit
You will be led throughout your visit by our Learning Officer and/or a member of the Learning team. You will have exclusive use of our learning room to use as your base camp for your coats and bags.
Hopefully, the weather will give you the opportunity to run around in our amazing gardens, to make a noise and to exercise your bodies as well as your minds. You can eat lunch inside the learning rooms or choose a place outside. We have toilets right next to our spaces which makes quick loo trips really easy for our school visitors.
We recommend the following ratio of adults to students:
• 1:4 for children of seven years and under
• 1:7 for children of eight to 11 years
• 1:10 for pupils of 11 to 18 years
The cost is £140 for 30 pupils. For larger groups please contact us.
To help you plan the visit, please see our Risk Assessment for Learning Sessions.
Bath & Wells Multi Academy Trust
“The whole day was brilliantly organised, and the activities were perfect for our class.”
Tirlebrook Primary School
“Excellent mapping activity.”
Beckington and Mells First School
“Everything was excellent… hands-on practical session with artefacts, an excellent presentation at the start, and children really enjoyed sharing their new knowledge.”
“It was sound!”
“Best day ever! I’m coming back.”
“I was really interested in the old games.”
“Just wanted to thank you again for an incredible day with us. It was so brilliant for all of the children, and as staff not having to worry about anything was just so great!”
We have needed to suspend these while we seek funding to support. We hope to be able to offer these again shortly. We offer travel grants of up to £300 to support schools in visiting us when funding is available. The grant is for schools with a pupil in the visiting group who receives Pupil Premium, FSM, is Looked After or In Care. To claim the grant you need to send us a brief email notification from a senior member of staff that you will have a Pupil Premium child in the group.
After your visit, please pay your travel/coach costs and then send us a copy of your paid invoice and school payment details. We will then refund the money to your school account. If you are visiting us on more than one day in a season you will be able to request the grant to help cover your costs for both days of travel.
It may be easier for us to come to you for an Outreach session. If you are within a 90 minute car journey, we will bring the museum to your school for the day. There will be an interactive presentation, objects to handle and investigate, reflective activities to deepen pupil thinking about difficult concepts and perhaps a craft session to learn a new skill which children would have known how to do a 100 years ago.
All of our learning sessions can be delivered as an outreach visit. We can work with multiple groups of pupils of up to 90 as we work in a carousel of activities with carefully thought out activities to thoroughly engage your students.
Please get in touch to discuss how we can meet your needs.
The cost is £140 (including VAT) for 30 pupils plus travel costs. For larger groups please contact us.
America in Crisis
Age group – KS2, KS3, KS4, citizenship learning objectives
Our citizenship education learning sessions, in conjunction with our America in Crisis exhibition running from 11 March – 4 July 2023, support pupils with:
- Challenging their ideas of being a ‘good’ citizen
- Knowing the differences between the US & UK political systems
- What makes an active citizen, or how are laws made?
- Explore difficult questions such as ‘How can people have such different beliefs?’
- All students have the opportunity to create their own poster showing an important issue to them using effective graphic tips
The KS2 session will use active group work to consider:
What is a democratic community?
Which people decide what is right?
Can one person change society?
We will look at the nature and styles of protests in the US and UK and debate how effective they were/are.
We will look at key terminology and see how that helps us interpret what is happening in the images of the exhibition.
The KS3 & 4 session will consider:
What does a protest look like?
What is social responsibility?
Can there be a balance of rights and freedoms?
Is the media responsible?
Students will use the exhibition images to consider scenarios and ideas with opposing views. Students will critically reflect and discuss the purpose of the images in distributing information to the viewer (viewpoint and framing of the images) and how ideas and pictures of American society has changed over time.
What is America?
Age group – EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage)
- Explore the world of North America in our museum and gardens
- Using a giant map, look at the variety of American animals and where they live
- Handle wooden spoons, deer antler and buffalo horns and several fur samples, and talk about how they can be used
- Walk to our Redwood trees, see the differences between evergreen and deciduous leaves, look for wild mint and wonder what may live in our streams
- Touch a very old quilt which has kept someone cosy, and make a similar pattern with tissue paper pieces
- Visit the museum to talk about the strange things people have made
Age group KS1–5, Literature students
This session will give pupils strategies for exploring how unique objects and places can be inspirational for their creative writing.
Led by a published author and specialist teacher, pupils will work from our historic rooms and handling collections using discussion, collaboration, visualisation and drama. Students will be supported with vocabulary acquisition and developing their writing techniques in different genre.
Learners will also be encouraged to empathise with indigenous tribes, their stories and culture alongside a growing understanding of the motivations and actions of settlers with examples of literature from a wide range of sources. Sessions will be tailored in discussion with the teacher to meet the needs of students.
Liberty for whom? A 500 year guide to voting rights in the US
Age group – KS4 & 5, Literature & History students
Aim – This is a contextual session looking at how different cultural groups gained civil rights, citizenship and voting rights in the US. We will see how social and political power has been granted, taken, denied and given at times over the past 500 years. This discussion opportunity will support students in understanding how different experiences have shaped lives for a range of peoples in diverse geographical situations.
The day can include;
- Looking at Liberty – does the iconic statue truly represent freedom?
- Handling collection – an opportunity to be really hands-on with some of our collection and see how the items may have been used by individuals
- Meet up – consider how real-life individuals would be affected by rules, regulations, laws and societal expectations
Museum tour or visit – You may wish to take advantage of a detailed tour explaining how our collection relates to your period of interest, or you can tour the house freely as you wish.
Art in the Garden
Age group – KS 2–5 according to learning objectives and needs
Aim – An art, design and textiles workshop which uses our unique gardens, arboretum and parkland as creative inspiration for pupils.
Students will observe different natural elements, respond to their choices with different medium and individually experiment with a range of materials to create 2-3 pieces during their visit.
Activities can include:
- Mark making, patterns and examining surface textures
- Collage and construction with papers, fabrics and natural items
- Manipulation of materials and a range of substances
- Embellishments, applique, stitched layers and simple embroidery
- Fabric painting
- There is an opportunity to work with the artist, Claire Richenda Todd, and be inspired by her varied portfolio
- Visit our historic collection of quilts to see a range of techniques and creative ideas
- Understand the varied social contexts in which pieces were made
This session can be adapted to suit KS2-3 as well as GCSE Art & Design, Deign & Technology and Textiles.
The cost of £150 includes all materials for approx. 30 pupils.
The day is from 10.00am – 2.30pm which allows time for students to observe, respond and create 2-3 pieces. There is an additional cost of £50 if you would like Claire to work with your pupils on creating their pieces – https://claire-todd.squarespace.com
Native Americans – their landscapes and lifestyles
KS1, KS2, Geog, Early civilisations, Place knowledge, Human geography
DT – investigate & analyse products
- See how the lives of Native American people were lived in different landscapes
- Look at lifestyle changes over 500 years with new technologies and contacts
- Explore sources and handle innovative objects from Native American lives
- Appreciate how the European world was changed with knowledge from indigenous people
Road Trip USA
KS1, KS2, Cornerstones, Roadtrip USA, Place knowledge, Physical geography, Human geography
This session ties in with the Road Trip module from the Cornerstones curriculum
- Use your passport and see how the physical geography made different settlements and trade routes
- Examine evidence of how the lives of Native American people were lived in different landscapes;
- Look at lifestyle changes over time with new technologies Explore a range of sources and handle innovative objects from past lives
- Look at how both indigenous and European lives were changed through travel and trade
Colonists & settlers
KS2, KS3, Migration factors, Historical evidence, Historical enquiry
- Use this session to examine how quickly the 15 000 years of Native American history and life changed with the landing of European settlers and colonists
- Use primary resources to gather evidence of how people lived
- Come with questions and examine the evidence for those
- Work with materials to make your own quilt square (sewing skills not always needed) for group display
GCSE American West
KS4, GCSE History, American West
GCSE module in a day
- Use real life character profiles to chart the effect of government and state policies on Native American people; Asian migrants; African Americans; 49ers; a cowboy and a mid-west settler
- Handle objects which illuminate the lives of people and their living conditions
- Explore our rooms to see how people came together in historical settings
Legacy & lives – how the trade in enslaved people still impacts all of us today
KS4, KS5, Slavery, Racism, Anti-racism, BLM, British values, Liberty, Respect, PHSE, GCSE History, Empire
Pupils will be given positive images of black culture in the UK & US. They will be introduced to a range of historical sources and objects to deepen their understanding of a difficult history.
Your students will be guided through a series of activities to understand the aspects of transatlantic slavery and their legacy.
Topics covered – types of slavery and attitudes to race, forced migration, plantation life & narratives from enslaved people, resistance, abolition movements and the link to contemporary issues including Black Lives Matter.
This learning opportunity demonstrates the massive impact of transatlantic slavery and the ways it still impacts on all our lives today.
Video live Sessions
As many schools are too far away to be able to visit our unique museum, we offer live video learning sessions via Zoom or Microsoft Teams. We want to give your pupils the opportunity to see items from our learning collection and to ask questions, even if they are unable to visit us in person.
We offer two online sessions, each lasting 60 minutes. We suggest a week apart for each session. These will be accompanied by two sets of PDF’s to use with your class to deepen their understanding.
We suggest the following structure –
- The first 60 mins online session covering the geography of the North American continent and exploring how Native American people farmed, traded, made homes and lived full and creative lives with their families. Students will also be shown items from our collection which are unique to Native American heritage including a ‘Mohican style’ headdress.
- PDF’s will be supplied for use in class, covering Native American leadership qualities and use of the feather as a symbol of leadership and community thanks.
- A second 60 minute online session will look at how the lives of Native American people were changed by European settlers and the advent of ‘public’ transport into the continent. This session will include further items to look at from the lives of European settlers.
- Further PDF’s for class use on Native American people today, as well as two famous people to research.
We are happy to use Microsoft Teams or Zoom to deliver the session to your class.
This session and PDF materials also costs £140.00.
Please email [email protected] or use the form below to request a learning session.
Learning from home
If you’re missing school or college, we’ve put together some free AM&G Discovery sheets. The sheets focus on objects in our collection and we hope they inspire you to create your own.
Discovery sheet 1 – Porringer
Discovery sheet 2 – Quilt squares
Discovery sheet 3 – Weaving
Discovery sheet 4 – Moccasins
If you’d like to see any specific objects or subjects featured on our Discovery sheets, do let us know by emailing [email protected]