Workshop - If Things Could Talk

This workshop aims to explore the power of objects to tell stories and the role museums can play in interpreting these objects. Working in small groups, students will take on the role of the Museum interpreter. Each group will engage with a selection of objects from the Museum's handling collection and will have the opportunity to explore the different meanings that we invest in objects. The workshop promotes student-centred and student-led ways of learning about Irish social history.

'The workshop helps them to see history as being about people and people's lives.' Teacher feedback


Workshop at a glance

Level: 3rd – 6th class
Group size: 30
Location: Out of Storage Gallery
Duration: 1 hour
Available: Thursdays, 10-11am and 12-1pm



Curriculum Links

SESE History

Working as a Historian
Time and chronology/ Using evidence/ Communication

Life, society, work and culture in the past
Language and culture in late 19th and early 20th century Ireland


Other Curriculum Links

  • Language/ oral/ listening & presentation skills



Learning Outcomes

  • To explore the value of objects - intrinsic and acquired
  • Understand reasons for curators' choices - what objects are chosen and why
  • To create an awareness of what a museum provides

Skills developed

  • Decision-making: The participants make their own choices as to objects they would want to preserve, the value of these objects, and why they should be saved whilst others are not.
  • Observational/ imaginative/ descriptive/ analytical
  • Speaking/ listening/ understanding/ empathising
  • Working within a team



Resources and Suggestions

Before your visit

  • Ask your students to examine an object of their choice closely, using the 'Exploring an Object' sheet.

After your visit

  • Make your own box of objects choosing items from modern daily life - what object would you choose to tell your story?
  • Make your own school or classroom Museum, if everyone were a curator, what would they put in the exhibition? Plan your exhibition by selecting the theme and the objects. Then think about labels or information panels, and the exhibition title. Invite other students, teachers or parents and families to your Museum. 



Guided and self-guided group visits can be booked for If Things Could Talk by using our online form.