On Wednesday 28th April Karen Exell, Curator of Egypt and the Sudan, and I undertook a trial video conference with three Oldham schools. The trial was set up to help us look at whether video conferencing could be another way of working with schools in the future and increasing the reach of the Museum’s collection.
We took part in two conferences with the Oldham schools – a morning conference with Christchurch primary school and an afternoon conference with both Greenfield St Mary and Our Lady primary schools. Prior to the session, we asked the pupils if they had any questions about the ancient Egyptians that they would like Karen to answer. The questions submitted covered a wide range of topics from what the ancient Egyptians ate and what pets they had to what their death masks looked like.
In an effort to answer these questions as best we could, Karen searched the Egypt stores for objects to illustrate her answers during the video conference. The chosen objects included an ancient Egyptian death mask, baby feeding cup, vessel for holding beer, some games and tools . Both conferences were successfull and I certainly learnt lots (including that the River Nile is visible from space!). The trial also allowed me an opportunity to see video conferencing in action and generated lots of ideas within the Museum on how best it could be used with schools.
I’d be really interested to find out how many schools have access to video conferencing equipment and if you would be interested in using it with the Museum. Also, if you have an idea for an activity or session that might work well using video conferencing equipment, please let us know – we always welcome any suggestions and are looking forward to many more successful conferences in the future.