Galway City Museum is in the process of developing an object-based learning project for schools entitled ‘A History of Galway in Objects’, which will focus on a number of key pieces from our exhibitions, including the earliest-known Claddagh Ring (c. 1700), the elaborate Great Mace of Galway (1710), the rare Victorian Penfold post box (c. 1866 to 1879), a piper’s cap worn by Éamonn Ceannt (1908), and the iconic statue of Pádraic Ó Conaire (1935).
Working with primary school teachers, artists, storytellers and performers, the Museum is developing information packs and lesson plans for use in the classroom and various creative activities (art, drama, writing, etc.) that respond to the objects. Inspired by the History of Ireland in 100 Objects and its associated educational resources, the project is supported by Creative Ireland through Galway City Council.
Yesterday, Brendan McGowan, Education and Outreach Officer with Galway City Museum, visited Carnaun NS, near Athenry, with artist Jojo Hynes, to trial the project in the classroom. For this second session, pupils focussed on the Claddagh Ring and the Great Mace of Galway. They were shown images of both, and asked to examine the objects, observe the details, and draw conclusions. Afterwards, they learned the fascinating stories behind each piece, and wrote their own labels for the objects. Then, with the symbols of the Claddagh Ring (heart, hands, and crown) in mind, the pupils created their own symbols in gold or silver with artist Jojo. They also tried their at the chasing and repoussé techniques of the of the silversmith using tinfoil, framing board and plastic sewing needles. You could have heard a pin drop!
Special thanks to principal Mark Hannon and his history (and hurling)-mad 6th class pupils at Carnaun N.S. We will be trialing the lesson plans and activities with several schools in 2023 with a view to launching the project next year.
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