We had a fabulous day at the National Museum of Country life today.


We spent most of our time learning about and examining ordinary objects made by people using the materials that they had to hand at the time; mostly straw, willow (sally) and heather.

Examining lobster pots made from sally rods and hen nests made from straw
Straw basket…and guess who is that in the straw boy hat!

All sorts of household, farming and fishing items were made using these materials:

Household

  • Baskets
  • Chairs
  • Stools
  • Mattresses
  • Hats

Farming & Fishing

  • Horse collars
  • Hen nests
  • Cleaves
  • Rope
Relaxing on a súgán chair

We got to look closely at thatching. We noticed when we looked at the 1901 & 1911 census records for our area in class recently that every house in our community was thatched except for one!

Straw is naturally water resistant and is a fantastic natural insulator.

Handling a thatch roof…amazing craftmanship

Finally, we briefly explored the sections “Hearth & Home”, “Trades”, “Farming & Fishing” and “Life in the Community”.

laundry was a little different long ago…but we still have Persil!
a crane for hanging pots and pans over the fire
shopping trolley not required!


We found the school section particularly interesting. School life was very different from today.

The objects used in school have changed a lot. We don’t use ink wells, quills or slates and we don’t learn the catechism….and our teacher doesn’t use the strap!

sign hung during religion class…and a leather strap.
ink was used by the older children in school and slates for the juniors
Does this thing have Twitter?

Being able to see and handle historical artefacts makes for very engaging and memorable history lessons.  We’re very lucky to have such a wonderful facility so close to us.

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