School Visits

We offer two workshops to school groups: one about traditional toys and the other on the topic of transport (focusing on road transport, naturally!). Through hands-on activities as well as participating in a talk using objects and demonstrations, the workshops complement a museum visit by providing background information and context to the objects on display.

Please email for further information.

Transport Workshop: How do we Take a Bus Ride to the Seaside?

These workshops can be tailored to specific age groups but typically comprise of four parts:

  1. Introduction to early road transport. Using pictures, various types of early road vehicle will be shown (e.g. traction engine, charabanc, bus, steam lorry etc.) together with some vintage street scenes. Also the need to introduce ‘rules of the road’ will be illustrated (e.g. requirements for speed and weight limits, red-flag-men, turning indications, tolls, lighting, licensing).
  2. Various activities focusing on driving on a journey. The activities will be explained/demonstrated first and then done in rotation (with assistance from school teachers). They may include:
    • Familiarisation of vehicles:-
    • Labelling pictures of all types of transportation (via land, sea and air) from all eras and identifying which ones might have been seen during a bus journey in the times talked about previously
    • Brass rubbing and/or colouring in of vintage vehicle shapes
    • For older children – designing the advertising on the side of a vintage van using examples.
    • Introduction to road signs:-
    • Practising standardised hand signals
    • Labelling road signs according to their meaning and identifying the significance of their shape
    • For older children – designing a road sign (e.g. for ‘roadworks’ or ‘dead-end’)
    • Introduction to maps and route planning:-
    • Experimenting with a puzzle to show that fuel stoppages had to be well planned
    • Labelling and identifying map symbols
    • For older children – writing directions for a route or plotting a route from directions
    • Familiarisation of car parts and construction:-
    • Identifying basic car parts
    • Assembling a car from parts in a team as per a production line and against the clock
    • For older children – experimenting with gears and ratios
  3. Roleplay encompassing the concepts covered previously. Using flashcards as prompts, the scenario will be a bus ride to the seaside, following a ‘red-flag man'. Passengers will need to buy a ticket from the conductor. The bus will have to stop for petrol and is bound to break down, showing the need for greater maintenance in the past. Maybe it’ll be caught speeding at 8mph too!
  4. Buying of a driving license at a post office. Illustrating that originally licenses were merely bought and using their left-over cash from their seaside trip, the children will ‘buy’ a vintage (replica!) license to take home.

Toy Workshop: Wood + String + Ingenuity = FUN!

These workshops can be tailored to specific age groups but typically comprise of four parts:

  1. Introduction to traditional toys. Various toys will be handed out to the children for them to experiment with and then each toy will be demonstrated in turn. In doing so, some common themes will be highlighted such as their material (mainly wood, often with string), their simplicity and their ingenuity in involving movement – and sometimes skill too.
  2. Creative activity (using a piece of wood and string). Depending on the age of the age of the children, they will make either:
    • A colourful spinning disc – a fun and very simply way of showing how movement can be generated that’s so fast that colours blur together
    • A thaumatrope – two pictures either side of a disc that appear to magically combine into one when the disc is flipped over at a fast rate.
  3. Introduction to mechanical and clockwork toys. Themes emphasised here include the introduction of sound in addition to movement and, if appropriate, the fact that these toys are not hand-made but encompass precise components mass-produced in factories.
  4. Free play with the traditional toys – plus some others (currently being augmented but including spyrographs and spinning discs for example).

Visiting the Museum

The Cotswold Motoring Museum was founded by one individual collector and so the museum’s seven rooms are packed full of all sorts of motoring (and more general ‘every-day’) delights; visitors will miss a lot if they don’t look upwards and all around them! With period music and an especially large collection of enamel advertising signs setting the scene, the displays evoke an atmosphere of a bygone age. The toy collection encompasses model cars, garages and railway engines, plus pedal cars and sledges, whilst the motoring memorabilia focuses on ‘motoring for the masses’ from the 1920s to the 1970s, although there are some sports and luxury vehicles on show too. They are complemented by an array of smaller items ranging from goggles, car mascots, picnicking pieces and garage equipment to social-history items including cameras, motoring-related ornaments, toffee tins and radios – to mention just a few.

Vehicles of particular interest may include:

  • A London taxi – with its tall spacious compartment for passengers yet little shelter for the driver
  • An particularly early motorcycle and a Brough Superior – the ‘Rolls Royce’ of bikes
  • A penny farthing, ‘bone-shaker’ and early ‘safety’ bicycle, showing the evolution of design
  • A horse-drawn wagon that used to ply local villages making deliveries before motorised transport took over
  • Vintage wooden caravans with period interiors and a Landrover campervan
  • Scooters and mopeds, including particularly early and novel designs
  • A car from 1911 with its wooden wheels and coach-built bodywork, contrasting with the plainer boxy shape of those from the 1970s.
  • An Austin 7 Chummy – the car that, more than any other, was made to be affordable by the middle classes
  • Sporty and luxury derivatives of the Austin 7, including the first Jaguar – showing how influential one little car can be
  • Various sports cars with their streamlined shape, contrasting with the cheaper, more functional design of others. Also a Morgan with its three wheels and exterior engine.

As an addition to visiting the museum, pupils can spend some time looking at our restored vintage pick-up truck. They can:

  • Spot some differences between it and modern vehicles (such as there being no windscreen or seatbelts, separate headlights and spoked wheels);
  • See (and hear!) the engine being started with the crank handle, showing how all cars used to be started;
  • Sit inside the vehicle and wear driving goggles, cloves and hat.

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