Opening the doors of history

5th November 2004 at 00:00
Our school is taking part in Adopt-a-Historic-Building - a pilot project being run by the Lighthouse Trust, which is concerned with the preservation of Scotland's old buildings and education about them.

We chose Maybole Town Hall. It was originally a 17th-century town house, then a toll booth, and was incorporated into a town hall in 1887. We studied its history during visits to the library and local historical society, and by using the internet. Children produced sketches and written work, and drawings were made into notelets, which they sold.

The culmination of our project was Doors Open Day - a scheme across Scotland that opens well-known buildings to the public. This was the first time Maybole Town Hall had been included, and we were pioneers for school involvement. We are a 47-pupil school and 21 children participated.

We borrowed costumes from the Burns Museum in Irvine and children performed 19th-century Scottish country dances and witty sketches about court cases held in the town hall. They also gave talks on the building's history and there were displays of their work. They learned a huge amount. A building which had been taken for granted revealed itself to be full of interest. It gave them an insight into history dating from the 17th century, and they learned lessons in citizenship, such as how the town hall had fitted into the community.

* Adopt-a-Historic-Building scheme Email: lynn@thelighthouse.co.uk

* Doors Open Day www.doorsopendays.org.uk

Helen McEwan, primary Year 5, 6, 7 teacher, St Cuthbert's Primary School, South Ayrshire

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