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.) in response 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 Scoil Náisiúnta Bhaile Chláir na Gaillimhe, Claregalway, with artist Jojo Hynes and drama facilitator Órla McGovern, to trial the project in the classroom. For this first session, pupils focussed on the statue of Ó Conaire 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, led by Órla, the pupils improvised news reports about the 1999 decapitation of the statue, and mimicked the chasing and repoussé techniques of the silversmith using tinfoil with Jojo. Special thanks to principal Carmel Burns, teachers Darragh Moran and Vincent Daly, and their enthusiastic and engaged 4th class pupils – your participation and feedback are greatly appreciated.
We will be trialling the lesson plans and activities with a number of schools in 2023 with a view to launching the project next year. Next up, Carnaun NS, Athenry.