National Curriculum Subject Area/s: Cross curricular
Length of session: 30 minutes followed by optional self-guided gallery visit

Max group size: 30 pupils


  • Appreciation of how objects can be used for learning, including formulating questions
  • Practising higher-order thinking skills by making connections to the wider world, exploring themes and developing lines of enquiry using objects
  • Knowledge and understanding of museums, why they collect and how they have contributed to our knowledge of the world in the past and today
  • Self-directed learning skills: to think independently, make choices, develop and justify ideas
  • Opportunities to practise and develop speaking, listening and questioning skills


This session introduces students to ideas about why museums collect and how we can learn from objects. Students will handle objects to develop higher-order thinking skills, devise questions, explore themes and develop lines of enquiry.

Activity 1: Why collect?
An introduction to the history of the Ashmolean Museum and its earliest collections and an opportunity to consider why museums collect objects.

Activity 2: Learning from objects and following lines of enquiry
Students will handle objects in small groups, devising their own questions about them. The emphasis will be on thinking creatively and making connections between objects and the wider world.

Activity 3: Self-guided exploration
Students will have the opportunity to explore the museum for themselves and apply their thinking to objects in the collection.


Clare Cory, Education Officer: Secondary & Young People
Tel: +44 (0)1865 288075
Email: clare.cory@ashmus.ox.ac.uk