Our School: Exploring Maplewell Hall’s historical & environmental heritage

In 2014 expresseum poetics managed and co-delivered a project with young people at Maplewell Hall Special Educational Needs School. This project explored the fascinating history of the Maplewell estate, and created an exhibition about this history, in the school’s own museum.

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Students at the school explored the heritage of Maplewell Hall and the surrounding landscape, using the extensive archive of material such as maps, birth certificates, and photographs, that the Head of History, Darren Harris, had collected together.

Students worked with different specialists to explore Maplewell’s heritage in a variety of ways. This included working with expresseum poetics to find and record interesting sounds in and around the Hall, and with artist Jo Dacombe to interpret the heritage they had discovered in creative ways such as collages. Students also worked with Museum Educators from Leicestershire County Council’s Lifelong Learning Service to learn about what museums do, so that they could explore how they might like to see heritage presented in their own museum.

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We worked with students to create the exhibition, Our Museum: Exploring Maplewell Hall’s historical & environmental heritage in the school’s museum. On the request of students, new technologies were brought in to provide interpretation within the museum. Three specially designed listening posts were installed, which had a variety of different audio tracks on them; including staff reminiscing about the changes to school life, and students discussing the history of Maplewell and the changing school experience with school staff. We also worked with Cuttlefish Media to produce interactive quizzes that were presented on iPads.

The exhibition was a great success, and students and staff enjoyed learning about the history of Maplewell together. Students have had the opportunity to shape the way their school museum looks and is interpreted, through new and exciting ways of displaying and explaining the collections.

You can read more about the project and the exhibition on Maplewell Museum’s website.

The project and exhibition were funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Young Roots programme.