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All hands on deck

Key facts

  • Suitable for: Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Post 16, Post 18
  • Subjects: English, History
  • Session type: Museum led
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Class size (maximum): 30
  • Venue: Merseyside Maritime Museum

Summary

An interactive session with one of our museum demonstrators using our collection of seafaring handling objects.  Find out about the harshness of a life at sea in the past, the different tools used, the importance of Liverpool as a trading city and the significance of shipping to the world today.

The session can be tailored to individual groups' needs and is available at 10.15am, 11.30am and 1.15pm, Monday to Friday.

Further details

various items that sailors would use, including a compass, canvas and candles

This hands-on workshop is perfect for pupils studying local history and wishing to find out more about seafaring and its importance to Liverpool, both past and present. The session is led by an experienced member of the museum’s education team, who will tailor the session to the age and abilities of your group. 

After a brief welcome to the museum, the students begin to think about the importance of ships and what experiences they may have of them – boat trips, ferry rides or relatives who work on ships or in the docks. We take them back thousands of years to think about the first ever ships, and discuss how they have developed over time.  We look at changes in ship design and construction over the last three centuries and see what effect they have had on Liverpool.

The students then have the opportunity to handle real objects from our extensive collection in order to appreciate the difficulties of life at sea – both in Victorian Britain and in more modern times, post 1930.

Among these objects are a mallet and iron for caulking (‘waterproofing’) a ship, a real ship’s biscuit to see how disgusting the food could be, a wooden fid (for separating strands of rope), and a Morse key to illustrate communication before mobile phones!  

A significant moment in shipping in Liverpool was the introduction of containerisation after the Second World War. We demonstrate this revolutionary change by a ‘lifting and loading’ activity. In this, the students use techniques developed by the dockers of yesteryear to move our ‘cargo’ from quayside to ship’s hold and back again with ropes and pulleys!  This activity shows how moving goods inside containers is so much faster, and leads onto a discussion of the way work in the docks has changed over the years.

Curriculum links

Key Stage 2 – History

  • Know and understand the history of these islands as a coherent, chronological narrative, from the earliest times to the present day: how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world.Local history study

    A study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066

Key Stage 2 – English Spoken Language

  • listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers

  • ask relevant questions to extend their understanding and knowledge

  • articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions

Key Stage 3 and 4 – History

  • know and understand the history of these islands as a coherent, chronological narrative, from the earliest times to the present day: how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world

  • ideas, political power, industry and empire: Britain, 1745-1901

  • Local history study

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

Pupils will:

  • Understand the development of ship design over time.

  • Recognise different nautical tools and instruments and their uses.

  • Understand how technological changes have affected the working lives of Liverpool people.     

Skills

Pupils will:

  • Develop team working skills during the ‘lifting and loading’ activity.

  • Learn a new communication skill through the use of the Morse key.

Concepts

Pupils will:

  • Grasp the key importance of seafaring to Liverpool’s past and present.

  • Appreciate the importance and relevance of shipping to everybody both in the past and today.

 Attitudes

Pupils will:

  • Empathise with the harshness of a sailor’s life in history.

  • View the Maritime Museum as an enjoyable and interesting place to visit.