Six months ago I received a call from the Head Teacher at St. Charles Borromeo, Mr Holt, asking me to create a series of bespoke workshops to help the school celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day. I spent the first part of this year working with the school to organise the activities and I was even able to take a look at the school's logbook from the Second World War, an incredible piece of history!
Sadly due to the recent Coronavirus outbreak these plans have had to be postponed, but we didn't want all the hard work and enthusiasm the school had put into the VE Day celebrations to go to waste. So at the end of April I sent them this worksheet, in which students were invited to create work inspired by six items from our Second World War collection for us to use in an online exhibition.
The response has been phenomenal! Within a week I was sent over seventy entries, which ranged from poems to beautiful works of art and even interviews with Grandparents. All of this work has been created without access to art supplies and many of the other resources the children are used to having in the classroom, making their efforts even more impressive.
Despite these challenges, the students of St Charles Borromeo have created a collection of work which is at times both joyful and sorrowful, optimistic and startlingly insightful. It is clear that many of the students have used their own experience of the uncertainty and disruption caused by Coronavirus to better understand the challenges faced by children and families 75 years ago, making this project even more incredible.
We would like to thank the students of St Charles Borromeo for their wonderful responses and enthusiasm for the history of their local area. I would also like to thank their teachers, who took the time to organise and collate the entries despite the many challenges they are currently facing. I would especially like to thank Mr Holt and Mrs Rand without whose help none of this would have been possible.
The student's work has been arranged and carefully curated by myself and Amy Swainston, our Exhibitions and Interpretation Officer, to create this wonderful exhibition.
Take a look at the links below to explore!
- Jodie Altham, Education and Outreach Officer
Before you get started, why not take a look at Elsie’s brilliant PowerPoint presentation to brush up on your knowledge of the Second World War and find out why VE Day was so important? She has included interesting thoughts on how people may have felt on VE Day, as well as some fantastic facts!
Select the items below to view each of the students' imaginative interpretations of the six museum artefacts: