Life at the LearningLAB
I write this whilst sat on a beanbag on the floor of Stirling Castle’s LearningLAB. The space still echoes from the shrieks, cheers and laughs from another exited group of school children. I am just at the end of my fifth week with Historic Scotland and am immersed in the world of heritage education. After initial observation and shadowing of the broad range of teaching and learning that goes on here, I’ve now started teaching groups in ‘Discovery Sessions’ aimed at showing pupils what castle life was like hundreds of years ago. Building on what they’ve been learning at school, my sessions have involved discussing medieval warfare, assisting pupils with some object handling (including replica weapons!) and dressing children up as kings, queens and knights!
As well as getting more experience of delivering formal education activities, I aim to improve the links that the Castle has with other projects in the local area. One project is DunCarron Medieval Village which is currently being built by the Clanranald Trust. The Trust is building a full-scale replica of an early Medieval Motte and Bailey Fort, forming an accurate representation of life in Scotland around 800 years go. When completed, the Medieval Village will be brought to life with live demonstrations of crafts, weaponry, agriculture and more. As well as the incredible resource of a living and breathing fort, the Trust also has costumes, replica-weaponry and a merry band of volunteers all with a range of skills and areas of expertise. I’m hoping that the strengths of both sites can be combined to form a learning experience that takes in all aspects of medieval life from the regal splendor of the castle to the agrarian working community at the fort. Watch this space for more news!
Left: Odin (the Newfoundland) and Malin lead Kirsten Wood (Learning Development Officer for Stirling Castle), Sharon and I on a tour of the medieval village.
Right: Will being dressed up in a traditional kilt by Hugo the Jacobite (at Doune Castle’s Great Hall)