Pounds 2 each plus postage from The Royal Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh EH1 1JF
The value of museums in education is now fully recognised and progressive establishments throughout Britain are doing everything possible to encourage teachers to exploit their resources.
These publications, aimed at primary and secondary teachers, are excellent examples of attempts to make museum visits as productive and easy to organise as possible.
The National Museums of Scotland consist of the Royal Museum of Scotland and the Museum of Antiquities in Edinburgh; the Scottish Agricultural Museum, Ingleston; the Museum of Flight, North Berwick; Shambellie House Museum of Costume in Dumfriesshire; Biggar Gasworks, Lanarkshire; and the Scottish United Services Museum in Edinburgh Castle. The packs mostly relate to exhibitions, though Whatever's That? is a general guide to using objects as evidence.
The Education Section of the National Museums has identified all the questions that a teacher is likely to ask about a visit and has presented the answers with admirable clarity. Practical advice is provided on such things as how to get to the museum, how to prepare for the trip, how to locate the various exhibits, work in the classroom before and after the visit, and pupil activities in the museum.
In each pack, the subject matter is related specifically to the Environmental Studies National Guidelines, pointing up most effectively the ways in which museums can cater for pupils' diverse attainments in this area of the curriculum. It is good to find technology receiving due attention as well as the more obvious subject areas of history, geography and science. Useful illustrative materials are provided and almost all of these, together with relevant background information in the texts, can be copied freely.
The packs are indispensable for teachers planning to visit one of the exhibitions. However, bearing in mind that the concentration of the National Museums in the south of Scotland makes them inaccessible to many schools, the packs are also an excellent buy for those wanting guidelines on how best to plan a class visit to any museum.
In addition, the packs would prove most useful to teachers planning topic work on subjects such as environmental problems, farming, flight, birds, the South Pacific Islands, Ancient Egypt and the Victorians.