Tour of the International Slavery Museum, key stage 2

This tour, aimed at key stage 2 pupils, takes students around the 'Life in West Africa' gallery of the International Slavery Museum, but avoids the sensitive parts of the Museum such as 'Enslavement and Middle Passage' and the 'Legacies of Transatlantic Slavery'. Available on Thursdays and Fridays during term time.

Workshop details

The tour introduces pupils to the Museum by taking a look at the exciting Freedom! sculpture, which was made with help from young people. Using the sculpture the theme of Black people's resistance to their enslavement, and the existence of contemporary slavery, are mentioned in an appropriate way for this age group, but without going into detail.

Next the tour moves to the Life in West Africa gallery which explores the richness of life before transatlantic slavery. During the tour our staff encourage students to ask questions.

The tour takes in tactile exhibits and explores the messages  woven into the design of traditional, Ghanaian Kente cloth. The children can touch animals carved into the doorway to entrances to part of an accurately reconstructed Nigerian village of the Igbo people.

Students are able to see the layout of the buildings of a family compound. They discover the significance of the 'obi' or meeting house and they see the striking Uli symbols painted on the walls of the kitchen and bedroom areas.

Pupils discover about the wealth, sophistication and skills of the peoples of West Africa by looking at selected artefacts connected with traditional music, crafts and communication, and the tour helps make connections with our own culture. Pupils also find out about commonly held misconceptions about Africa.

The staff who lead the tour are specially trained , confident in using appropriate language for this subject area and they explain the words they use when needed.

The International Slavery Museum displays are open to the general public and other school groups during tours. The gallery spaces can become crowded and we ask that teachers and group leaders help to manage their group, respecting the needs of all visitors.

Curriculum links

Key Stage 2 - History

  • Inspire pupils' curiosity and enable them to understand the diversity of societies.
  • Know how the past is constructed from a range of sources and how we can use evidence rigorously.
  • Know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

Pupils will:

  • Gain knowledge and understanding of characteristic features of periods and societies of the past.
  • Understand how West African people use visual symbols to communicate information.
  • Understand the richness of African culture prior to transatlantic slavery.


Pupils will:

  • Improve their speaking and listening skills in a group context.


Pupils will be introduced to:

  • A number of West African traditions.
  • How particular artefacts demonstrate cultural significance.
  • The importance of freedom.
  • The role of museums such as the International Slavery Museum.


Pupils will:

  • Be inspired by the creativity of West African people.
  • Be aware of the diversity of West African culture.
  • See the International Slavery Museum as an enjoyable and creative place to visit.
  • Understand about the need to respect other peoples' way of life.