Wonderful Things: Learning with Museum Objects

This is a book about the learning potential of objects - whether they're rare artefacts in museum collections, or found objects discovered at your local car boot sale. This book grows from the simple fact that learning by engaging with objects can be a powerful experience. Whether you're a museum or gallery professional, a schoolteacher, an interpreter, or simply intrigued by this method of teaching, there will be something here for you. Wonderful Things is packed with bright and tested ideas - often in the form of games - which will help people of all ages relate to, understand and explore museum objects.

After an exploration of the process of learning from objects, the book puts these principles into practice, in the form of over 50 easy-to-set-up games, designed to facilitate creative interaction with objects. Although in themselves straightforward, many of the games can have surprisingly powerful and stimulating results, impacts and implications. Each game has been tested out and refined in practice many times, and guidance is provided to ensure each game both runs smoothly and provides the best possible learning outcomes.

All the games are ideal for use in classroom or museum settings, and most are easily adapted for use with all educational ages, from 5 - 18. However, some can also successfully facilitate interaction with with adults; and the more complex, drama-based games have been used in psychotherapeutic work and with older people for reminiscence. Wonderful Things is designed for use with a wide range of specialist staff - including educators, interpretors, designers, curators, gallery "explainers", guides and volunteers - in museums, galleries, science centres, historic houses and sites, parks, and zoos.

Learning from Objects
Getting hold of wonderful things
Care of collections
Getting real
Presentation skills
Planning your session
Using the space
Slowing down
Working with people

Fifty-one Games to Play
Find a Family
Guess What!
Translations in Time
Time Teams
Practical Joker
Mime Time
Get the Picture
That's My Object!
Just a Minute
Twenty Questions
Freeze Frame
The Name Game
Riddle in the Middle
History Mysteries
Commercial Break
The Balloon Debate
What Next?
Discovery Diary
Speaking as the Object
Connected Tales
Crossword Clues
Size Matters
X Marks The Spot
Make Me An Object!
Close Up
Info Centre
Vital Statistics
Letter Rack
Filling in the Fragments
Call My Bluff
Values and Status
Back to the Future
Feely Bags
Kim's Game Variations
Giant Drawing
Martian Game
A Case of Mystery
Grave Goods
Cultures of Meaning
Makers' Marks
Rapid-fire Research
Special Powers
Sounds of Discovery
Reuse, Recycle
Love It or hate It
Designed for Life
Sounding the Past
Visions and Voices

Object-specific Games

Giving Objects a Context

Think Tank


Julian Vayne works as a museum educator in the South-West of England and is a passionate advocate of object-based learning. His Museum Think Tank project brought together museum objects and cutting-edge interactive film, winning a major award in 2008. He was also a key contributor to the 2011 award-winning Sex and History project with Exeter University and The Royal Albert Memorial Museum. Introducing mindfulness practice into museums and using collections to support well-being and mental health is a major focus in his work - but he equally enjoys being the man from the museum who gets to show cool stuff to groups of schoolkids.

A practical combination of inspired ideas tempered with practical experience. The holistic approach is refreshing and anyone working with artefacts should find this an indispensible read. I thoroughly enjoyed Wonderful Things!
Kate Osborne, Learning & Skills Officer, 
Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter, UK

I want to congratulate you - this is a wonderful book and I'll use it and recommend it to any museum I'm working with! It goes much further than others available, and the practical suggestions are great - refreshing and playful. Sometimes educational books can be far too worthy and serious. Made my day!
Robin Clutterbuck, Museum Learning Consultant, White Rook Projects.

Title: Wonderful Things - Learning with Museum Objects
Author: Julian Vayne
Pages: 194
Illustrations: 10
Size: 203 x 127mm
Date: 2012
Editions: £26.95 [paperback] | £16.95 [eBook]
ISBN: 978-1-907697-44-9 [paperback]

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Question? Email us: hello@museumsetc.com
Guarantee: We offer all our readers an unconditional guarantee: if, at any time, you decide this book’s not for you, simply return it to us for a full and prompt refund. 


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