Takeover Day is all about celebrating children and young people’s contribution to museums, galleries and historic places. Our education programmes are all about bringing history to life for learners of all ages, and this year, on 18 – 19 November, learners came to Stonehenge, Osborne, Walmer Castle and Old Sarum for a chance to work in meaningful roles for a day with our staff and volunteers.
All our students took away different things from their behind the scenes visits – here’s what they thought of their experiences…
Stonehenge: tour guides and social media executives
Lewis, Year 8 at Stonehenge School
I loved today. It was really interesting! We did our own tours in the morning, going out and talking to all the visitors was really different. The bit in the Neolithic houses was cool.
The volunteers taught us about the artefacts, and showed us what they normally talk about to the visitors that come in to the huts. The huts had flint axes, and red deer horns which were amazing!
We also took over social media – I did lots of posts on Instagram and Facebook, and we took selfies by the Neolithic houses. With my friends Toby and Edward we got a cool picture of us with the stone that you pull so it tells you how many of you would be needed to move the stones – we called it the ‘rebuilding of Stonehenge’ on Facebook and it got over 100 likes! Here it is:
I want to be a pilot when I’m older, but if that doesn’t work out I think I’d like a job here.
Old Sarum: film crew
Chloe, 17, Totton College
While at Old Sarum, our film crew from the Totton College Media Department filmed material for a project called “Beneath your Feet.” Our client, English Heritage, tasked us with creating a video to promote Old Sarum to the public and to advise visitors on how to help preserve the site.
We filmed interviews with an archaeologist from Southampton University who discussed the geophysics results that the university found. Additionally, in another interview the flora and fauna of the site were discussed. While at Old Sarum we also filmed areas of the site such as the old keep walls and cathedral as well as the outer bailey. Our aim is to produce a film that will be as interesting and intriguing as our visit.
Osborne: re-enactors playing servants
Faith, Year 6 Holy Cross School
I was so excited about what I had signed up to for Takeover Day at Osborne House. I took on the role of a housekeeper and did lots of research to ensure that I was a terrifying woman in giving my orders out to the servants. Actually, I don’t think I was really that scary, but the servants did a great job of getting the dining room ready for the Queen’s dinner and making sure that all of the plates and cutlery were spaced equally apart. We all enjoyed being part of the day and performing for the tours. Thank you for a great experience!
Felix, Year 6 Holy Cross School
I took on the role of one of the table deckers, and was so excited to be taking part in Takeover Day! For our role play we needed to make the dining room look shiny and presentable for the Queen and her guests. We practised and really enjoyed dressing up. I think quite a few people were amazed by our acting and said lots of nice things about Holy Cross being at Osborne.
Walmer Castle: gardeners
Michael, Year 3 St. Faith’s School
Today was the best day in Year 3 so far! First we talked about what we were going to do in the garden. Then we made dens in the woods. After that we looked down the glen. Then we explored the castle garden and played some games. The games were hard but still fun. Finally we talked about how to make the gardens better. I said they should make a new building to relax in. The building would look like a small castle and be built in the centre of the garden.
Jamie, Year 3 St. Faith’s School
We went on a tour in the gardens. On the tour we went to the woodlands which was my favourite part because we made dens. Secondly we went to the fence and saw the glen. We weren’t allowed in because it was too dangerous. After that we went to play some historic games. One of the games was really hard but it was still loads of fun. Next we had a break at the kitchen garden. Brilliant!!!!
Takeover take-aways for the English Heritage team
Sparking an interest in the historic environment, and showing that heritage is for people and learners of all ages, is really inspiring for all involved. By allowing students to ‘takeover’ for a day, we gained a fresh perspective on how we can bring history to life for learners the rest of the year.
Our education programmes are a core part of what we do at English Heritage, and you can find out more about our free education visits and expert-led Discovery Visit here if you’re a teacher.
Find out more about Takeover Day and see what you could do to get involved in 2017.