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Learning sessions

We can offer learning sessions on a range of topics and a group visit to the archives can include a 'behind the scenes' tour. This is always popular with students as they learn how we care for and protect the county's archives, and see historical documents first-hand. 

Sessions can be tailored to different age groups and we have resources available for a variety of school topics, including (but not limited to):

  • local history (including The Bankes Family and Cooper Dean Estate)
  • World War 1
  • World War 2
  • Ancient Egypt
  • local art and design
  • development of local towns and schools
  • the science of conservation

Types of Learning Session

We can deliver a variety of styles of sessions, each with their own slightly different focus and tied into a curriculum topic as much as possible. Each session includes a 'behind the scenes' tour and use of a lunchroom (if required).

Topic Research Sessions

Pupils will jump back in time and use a variety of sources to study a chosen topic from the archives. This session is ideal for initial project research, and tends to work well with pupils capable of independent study, and familiar with basic research skills. Please note that this session may be unavailable for topics that do not have enough material in the archives.

Source Analysis Sessions

In these session, pupils will be able to look at a variety of different media (around a chosen topic where possible) and will have an opportunity to examine their use, as well as issues such as reliability, bias and audience.

Archival Workshop Sessions

Ever wondered how the different members of the archive team contribute to the running of the Dorset History Centre? In this hands-on session, members of the team can show pupils a range of day to day tasks, from Bookbinding to Palaeography.

Archive Skills Sessions

These sessions focus on the practical skills used to research a topic in the archives, from studying our catalogue and getting out documents, to using the Local Studies Library and online resources such as Ancestry. This session is aimed predominantly at beginners, but can be combined with a 'Topic Research Session' during a whole day visit.

Outreach Sessions and Supporting Materials

We understand that pressures on a teachers' time mean that you aren't always able to take pupils out of the classroom as much as you would like. We are able to deliver some of the above sessions, such as the Archival Workshops, in your school. Whilst we can't bring original archives to the classroom we can provide high quality copies of original material to be used alongside your existing lesson plans, with a small charge to cover reproduction expenses.

Book a session

Please contact if you have any queries or requests regarding our learning sessions. If you wish to book a visit please complete the schools' enquiry form [WORD DOC link].

Please note that there are charges attached to learning activities which will depend on your requirements.

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