West Cheshire Museums rise to the challenge of providing free access to collections and educational support

West Cheshire Museums rise to the challenge of providing free access to collections and educational support

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s four museums enthusiastic and committed museum staff are determined to connect with audiences through social media and their website while the doors are temporarily closed. Using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the Museum’s own website, visitors, both young and old, can enjoy pictures from the collections; craft activities and benefit from learning support material linked to the national curriculum. 

West Cheshire Museum’s digital sites can be found at www.westcheshiremuseums.co.uk; Twitter @cwacmuseums; Facebook at Weaver Hall and Lion Salt Works Museum and Facebook at Grosvenor Museum and Stretton Watermill as well as YouTube updates.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, West Cheshire Museum’s website will feature fun, free children’s activities, school support and adult activities, including: 

  • Make Your Own Chester Model City – every week children can download and colour an outline of a new building in the historic City of Chester with the aim of eventually having their very own model of the City. Chester’s Grosvenor Museum and iconic Eastgate Clock are currently available online.
  • Twice a week, new activities for children will appear on the website. At present there are templates for colouring and assembling a dinosaur mask, ‘cut and colour’ fashion clothes and information on how to make a paper plate bunny hat. 
  • During the children’s traditional Easter holiday period (13 to 24 April), there will also be imaginative twice-weekly Easter activities for parents and carers to engage their children indoors.
  • School Support – from 21 April, parents or carers who are teaching children from home can access a range of films and work packs that tie in with the national school curriculum, including three projects – an Introduction to the Romans, Archaeology in Chester and Roman armour and weapons.
  • Weekly adult activities will be uploaded to the website with, among other things, crochet and sewing projects.
  • From 13 April, the Museum will feature information and pictures from a diverse and successful range of four previous exhibitions: Vikings; Motherhood; Watercolours of Chester and the Secrets of Eternal Youth.

On its Facebook account (Weaver Hall Museum and Lion Salt Works), visitors can enjoy regular posts and pictures from the Lion Salt Works and Weaver Hall archives. These will give a fascinating insight into the place, industry and people of Northwich. Facebook (Grosvenor Museum and Stretton Watermill) posts will also feature pictures from the Grosvenor Museum’s fascinating collection of ‘Picturesque’ images that capture the City’s history – from its unique ‘Rows’ to its Gothic cathedral and Tudor and Stuart half-timbered houses. Chester History and Heritage Twitter and Facebook will also feature pictures from its art collection, which have already generated a lot of public interest.

‘Treasures at Home’ is a series of quirky and fun one-minute films about collections that the museum’s curators have at home. These films remind us that everyone has things in the attic or drawers at home that we have forgotten to cherish. 

Throughout the pandemic, the Museum’s Twitter account @cwacmuseums, will feature interesting pictures aimed at delighting audiences with glimpses of the county’s rich and varied history.

Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council and Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, said:

 “These are unprecedented times and I am delighted that the Museum’s staff are finding imaginative ways of using digital platforms to stay connected to visitors and the wider community. While the Museums’ doors are closed, being reminded of the beautiful things in our collections raises spirits and gives us all something to look forward to visiting when restrictions are lifted.

“I know that this is a challenging time for people confined to their homes, especially those who are struggling to juggle work and engage their children in school work and long hours of indoor leisure time. I hope that the range of activities and educational resources available on West Cheshire Museum’s website and on its social media will help lift the load as well as spirits.” 

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