Tag Archives: creative

Project 353 – Learning – Acton High School’s Story

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Acton High School is a close neighbour of the Museum Depot at Acton, just a couple of minutes walk up the Gunnersbury Lane, so it’s perhaps not surprising that it has a long history of supporting the museum. The most recent example was through Project 353’s learning programme.

As Project 353 includes a major restoration project, with strong elements of research, craft skills and reproduction, it seemed natural to involve pupils with an aptitude for Art and Design Technology subjects.

Fifteen year 7 pupils found themselves in Covent Garden and London Transport Museum, with ‘Access All Areas’ for a day and a brief to pull together an exhibition that could be mounted in the school. Those involved from the museum included the Head of Marketing and the Curators of the carriage, posters and exhibitions. They willingly submitted to detailed questioning from the young participants on topics such as exhibition staging, poster design, marketing and curating.  Additionally the activities of the day were filmed by the students, giving them valuable experience and exposure to sophisticated techniques.

A Museum Learning professional then supported the group weekly over 10 weeks within the school. Facilitating workshops where the group created pieces to exhibit. Posters were produced, using a wide range of skills from painting to desktop publishing via collage. A video loop was also created and edited. Finally the whole exhibition was mounted in the foyer of Acton High, where it entertained and educated students and parents over a number of weeks before going on tour to Acton Library on the High Street.

All this hard work deserved a reward, and it came on 13th January this year when the team were invited to travel on 353 as part of the ‘Steam on the Met’ day, forming part of the Underground 150 celebrations. They were delighted to see the carriage in active use in all its glory, and be involved in such a prestigious event.

What about the benefits for Acton High? Simone Stocks, their Community Outreach Manager, told me that the project was a great opportunity to reinforce the school’s relationship with the Museum. The involvement of parents in the foyer exhibition had helped bring in local communities too. The students had been stretched; the museum had treated them as responsible adults, and they responded well to this. The access to experts working in a professional environment was a rare opportunity for many students, and as such an invaluable resource for the school.

Would Simone encourage others to get involved with Project 353’s Learning Programme? “Absolutely, it is so worthwhile, giving rare access to real-life situations for the students.”
The students, in their feedback, highlighted the benefits for them: “Opportunities based on what I’m good at, and a lot of collaboration”; “Good to get involved and have a new experience”; “It was fun and it challenged my learning”.

So I think we can safely say that everyone involved came away appreciating the great opportunity that they’d had and very grateful that they had participated!

Project 353 Learning – Helen’s Story

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Helen C has lived in Bromley since a very young age, and became involved in London Transport Museum’s Project 353 through a partnership with housing association, Affinity Sutton. The project used the story of the restoration of Metropolitan Jubilee Carriage 353 as inspiration for a creative digital project supporting both digital inclusion and employment skills.

A single mum, Helen is interested in getting back into work now that her children are growing older. As the daughter of a transport enthusiast and someone very interested in history, Helen saw Project 353 as an ideal opportunity to learn more about the museum, improve her skills and to meet new people.

Helen, together with her group, had a tour from museum staff of both the  Covent Garden museum site and the museum depot at Acton, where they learnt all about the history and restoration of the carriage. Back in Bromley, the group were then asked to imagine themselves being given the task of marketing the Underground when it first started, and Helen was involved in producing the presentation and posters that resulted.

Through this contribution Helen was able to develop her computer skills, especially using PowerPoint. She had never used it before getting involved in the project, but became something of an expert in it through producing the content that the group used to develop their thoughts. Posters were a major part of this. Helen also used it to deliver a presentation to the group, for which she received very positive feedback. Helen was proud to exhibit her work to friends, guests and staff from both Affinity Sutton and London Transport Museum, showing off all she had learnt and achieved!

Helen particularly enjoyed the opportunity to visit the two museum sites, and in her own words, the Acton Depot was a “huge find”. She can’t wait to take her father to see it at the next open day, and her eight year-old son, Ben, is hugely jealous that he hasn’t been able to see it yet. However, there is no doubt in Helen’s mind that the icing on the cake was an opportunity to take a ride on Carriage 353 on the 13th January when it was hauled by Metropolitan Railway locomotive number 1 as part of the Underground 150 celebrations. She didn’t take her passenger wristband off for weeks afterwards! Helen loved the whole air of celebration, and was delighted to be part of an event that gave so much enjoyment to so many people.

What of the future? Helen told me that the 353 project “got her going” and “inspired her to get into new things”.  She would dearly like to be a Classroom Assistant, and has now applied for a local vacancy. The skills and approach that she learnt have reinvigorated her self-confidence. What would Helen say to others in a similar situation to herself, considering involvement in a similar project? “It’s a very positive thing to do if you want to grow your confidence, learn, have some new experiences and meet new people from different backgrounds. We weren’t thrown in at the deep end, everything was taken gradually, and it wasn’t in the least bit overwhelming.” She also commented on how supportive the museum staff were.

Probably the last word should also go to Helen: “It gave me a good kick up the bum!”