Like many museums, the Egypt Centre, which is part of Swansea University, has produced digital learning resources for families who are not attending school or nursery settings during to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The centre’s learning and engagement officer, Hannah Sweetapple, says that before closing its doors in March, it offered little in the way of special educational material online.
“I tried to keep our social media updated with interesting content but most of our learning provisions involved being on site or going off site in person as outreach,” she says. “This is partly due to limited time and resources as I am the sole learning officer in my organisation – but looking back, I also thought that I would need specialist digital skills to effectively do this.”
In the face of being unable to welcome school groups or attend classroom settings, the museum has used lockdown to produce fun activities that are linked to the curriculum with an ancient Egyptian twist.
“We also moved our monthly Come & Create family craft sessions online,” Sweetapple says. “Each month, I have made a video of a craft and uploaded a downloadable template to our website. The aim of these crafts is that you don't need any specialist equipment or skill - they are just something creative you can spend a bit of time doing.”
Creating bilingual videos without any specialist training has been a challenge, but Sweetapple says that a few lessons from her filmmaker partner have enabled her to film and edit the sessions using free online editing software.
The resulting resources have been shared with audiences on social media, as well as through educational organisations such as Kids in Museums and the Group for Education in Museums. “They have also been posted on other pages like local community groups,” Sweetapple says.The Welsh government has not provided any firm dates for when schools or museums will reopen. But even when lockdown restrictions do start to ease in the country and pupils return to their educational settings, Sweetapple believes most of the Egypt Centre’s educational work will be done digitally.
“We will not be able to restart our school programmes automatically as it will be very hard for us as a small museum to implement social distancing with a school group,” she explains. “Now I have dipped my toes into making videos, I would like to see them become part of our school offer when lockdown is lifted.
“Through our digital learning resources, we have engaged with communities around the world and long-term, I’m planning for these resources to be a permanent addition to the website.
"I also hope that the fact they link to the curriculum means they will be a useful resource for teachers to plan follow-up activities after a physical visit.”