Take 5 – Discover childhood in the past

Yellow picture with a pencil drawing of a girl and of a doll with the wording 'Florence and Tissie'

‘Take 5’ is our series of blog posts, each highlighting the incredible objects and activities on Museum of the Highlands – a digital learning hub for use in the classroom or at home. They’ve been put together to help you explore key themes in the classroom by museums education specialist Rosie Barrett. Whatever you’re teaching, Take 5 will help you discover amazing objects and stories from across the Highlands.

Take 5 – Discover childhood in the past
From across the Highlands, you can access lots of objects to help you explore the history of childhood.

1) You could start with the Victorian abacus with a difference from Grantown Museum. It comes from the days when children could be beaten for not learning their maths fast enough.
Abacus | Museum of the Highlands
Try listening to the sound it makes as an intriguing introduction to this object in ‘What’s that Noise?’
NOISE-12 | Museum of the Highlands

2) For a more cheerful look at childhood, the Highland Museum of Childhood has a number of fascinating toys to explore, including a nurse dressing up outfit.
Child’s Nurse Dressing-up Costume | Museum of the Highlands
Two home-made toys are great for exploring the ‘make do and mend’ era. Check out a simple skipping rope and a much more intricate hand-made dolls’ house.
Jill’s Biggin Croft House | Museum of the Highlands
Bobbin Skipping Rope | Museum of the Highlands

3) Museum objects are great for thinking about our own attitudes to toys today and whether we should be reusing and recycling more toys. You can hold a debate with ‘The Big Question’, which asks should children stop getting new toys?Should children stop getting new toys? | Museum of the Highlands

4) Discover the delightful interactive story of Tissie, a special doll with two different owners from the Highland Museum of Childhood. Your students can decide if they could give away a favourite toy to make someone else happy.
Florence & Tissie | Museum of the Highlands

5) Finally, learn about the impact of working life on children in the past. Use the fun quizzes, ‘Could You Survive’ to find out more about the perils of life for the children of lighthouse keepers near Gairloch and those sent down Brora mine.
A coal mine | Museum of the Highlands
Life in a Lighthouse | Museum of the Highlands
Or create a memorial to remember the child miners of the past.
Children in Mines | Museum of the Highlands