3 December 2022
History isn’t confined to books, it is all around us. Museums use a combination of artifacts, interactive exhibits and actors, bringing history to life for all the family. We have picked five museums where you can experience different periods of history for yourselves.
Occupying a prominent position on the River Thames near London Bridge, this imposing war ship tells the stories of centuries of naval history. While the ship itself was in active service during World War II and the Cold War, exhibits tell of life in the navy over several centuries. Kids will enjoy clambering through hatch doors and up and down ladders between the nine decks. Explore everything from the boiler rooms, the operations room, the medical and dental surgeries, and take in the view from the captain’s chair.
The title of this museum is deceptive, because it doesn’t just exhibit British history, but the history of the planet as a whole. Children will be in awe at the ancient Egyptian mummies and other artifacts. Learn about ancient civilisations and more recent history through objects, including the Rosetta stone, which enabled the decoding of ancient languages. The only downside is that your kids might get super sore feet by the end of the day, because the place is enormous.
It might not sound too thrilling, but the Museum Of London Docklands is a hidden gem. Your kids will be enthralled by the Tunnels, Trains and Tools feature, which showcases some terrific sights and exploration areas. Experience built up areas - done so realistically - and reams of artefacts such as big wheels and capstans. For the younger kids there is even a soft play area and an opportunity for your kid to build their own Canary Wharf.
This is one for the older kids who are a little more learning-inclined and who can handle some of the more macabre facets of history. This one deals, quite blatantly, with London’s surgical past. The highlight is the spiral stone staircase leading down to the old operating theatre. If that’s not enough to heighten the senses, there are many implements to learn about. Yikes. Moving on.
Immerse yourself in a historic village at Amberley Museum, a former quarry in the South Downs National Park. With a direct train connection to London Victoria, it’s easy to get to, and there is a narrow-gauge working steam railway on site to take a ride on. Learn about electricity and the history of electrical appliances and see real working historic rural industries. There’s a playground, cafe, and activities for children during weekends and school holidays.