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English Literature

Hippisley Farting

New Discoveries in Pneumaticks! – or – an Experimental Lecture on the Powers of Air.’, by James Gillray, London, 1802

The Museum has an extensive collection of scientific instruments and models along with historical books and archive material which can provide rich source material for creative writing and contextual studies.

In particular, the Museum’s collection is strong in Renaissance objects including early timepieces such as sundials and astrolabes, and 18th- and 19th-century objects including optical instruments such as telescopes and microscopes, early chemical and electrical apparatus, and medical instruments. A wonderful collection of cameras includes Lewis Carroll’s photographic developing equipment, T.E. Lawrence’s archeaological camera, and a Victorian “magic lantern” amongst other Victorian optical devices.

Previous groups have used a visit to the Museum to provide context for novels such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. There is plenty of material relevant to the 18th-century and the influence of natural phislophy on 19th-century Romanticism. The Museum and its collection also provide an atmosphere which resonates with children’s novels such as Phillip Pullman’s trilogy His Dark Materials, Harry Potter, and Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce.

Secondary programme leaflet [pdf]

Secondary and post-16 sessions are:

  • usually available on Wednesdays, Thursdays or Fridays
  • between 1- 2 hours with flexible start times
  • adaptable to suit individual needs
  • mostly accommodate between 20-30 students

Please contact the education officer if you would like more information about an existing session or to discuss a proposal for a bespoke session. You may wish look at sessions listed under other subjects such as Science or History to see what might be adapted.