Self-Led Time in the Museum

What is self-led time?

Simply, time in the museum which is facilitated by your own group leaders, not by museum staff.

The museum is all about the objects in our galleries and most visits will involve some self-led time, even if you are doing a workshop with us.  A fully self-led visit can even be the type which fits in best with your learning back in class because you are in full charge of the children's learning.  We do have lots of materials to support you - read on below!

Do we need to book?


Please do book for a self-led visit.  It will allow us to ensure that you have a lunch space if you would like one, storage space for coats and bags during your visit and get use of any physical gallery resources you wish to use (subject to availability).  It also means that you will get our booking pack with useful support for your day and links to documentation such as hazard id forms for doing your risk assessment.

What can we do?

Learning to explore a museum helps to build your children's cultural capital - and it's fun!  We have a huge variety of collections for you to explore during your visit.

We have made lots of printable resources to help support your self-led time in the museum.  Some are directly related to particular topics, some are about building your children's cultural capital by making them more confident in using museum spaces.  Have a look through and make your own bespoke pack of work to bring with you.  Remember that your children will want to explore the museum, so consider using one of our scavenger hunts to support doing that in a more structured way (which will also allow you to keep an eye on everyone!).

We have physical gallery explorer kits and story bags which you can book.  Each will give you around an hour's worth of activities to support your visit and they are all aimed at particular topics or museum galleries.  Click through on the link below to find out what is available.

The museum galleries are a great place for art and photography - bring your sketchbooks or cameras along and make the most of all the fantastic shapes, colours and textures to be found.  Museums also help stimulate conversation and make a brilliant place to practice literacy work or languages.

You could consider a trip to the Planetarium.  It's the only area for which we charge schools.  Prices start at only £37 for a class of 30 and we have a wide range of films you can see which are suitable for different age groups.  Find out more here.

Also, think about what you might be doing in school and make your own links to classroom learning on your visit.

But will this last the whole day?

You may find that you don't need as many resources to make your day full and exciting as you think you will. Of course, you'll be factoring in toilet trips and lunch time (unless you're planning a half-day visit) and the time to walk around the venue may take longer when particular objects or galleries pique your pupils' interests!

 A typical day visiting without a workshop might look like this:

10.00Arrive at the museum
10.15 - 11.00Use a gallery explorer kit
11.00 - 11.30Explore the museum using our scavenger hunt
11.30 - 12.00Work in the galleries using printable resources
12.00 - 12.30Lunch
12.30 - 1.30Use a story bag
1.30 - 2.00Planetarium visit
2.00Leave to return to school

If you would like to talk to a member of museum staff about making the most of your time, please do get in touch and we would be happy to help.

Need more information?

We've provided some hints and tips below, including how to get in touch.