3. Creating an informative exhibition
Producing their own artefacts is important for your pupils and they will want to share their achievements with others. In this part, we suggest creating a school exhibition of community artefacts and objects pupils have created as a means of fostering and preserving your pupils’ pride in their cultural heritage. Artefacts from the local community that cannot be moved or are otherwise unavailable could be represented by cuttings of pictures from newspapers and other sources.
Case Study 3 shows how one class, by working in groups, was involved in all aspects of the exhibition, from planning the layout to talking with visitors. In the Key Activity, your pupils will prepare an exhibition where visitors walk around unaccompanied, so their task of writing informative and interesting labels is crucial.
Case Study 3: Displaying artefacts at a school Open Day
Ilemela Community Primary School’s Open Day normally takes place towards the end of the school year. Mr Koku, who is teaching art to Standard 4 pupils, asks the Open Day planning committee to allocate a space in the exhibition room so that his class can display artefacts they have made during class or collected from different sources in the community. The request is granted.
During the preparation period, Mr Koku led his class to plan for the display. He divided the pupils into four groups. The first group was required to collect and label all drawings, pictures and objects classified as household objects. The second group was assigned the category of musical instruments, the third group was assigned the category of jewellery and the fourth group the category of carvings.
The work of collecting and labelling took up two lessons. In the third lesson, each group nominated one pupil to present its collections to the class the way one would present to visitors. During the Open Day, the class displayed the objects arranged into four categories and four pupils described the collection to parents and other members of the community who visited the class display table.
At the end of the day, the artefacts table was awarded a trophy for the best table in the exhibition room.
Key Activity: Preparing for an exhibition of artefacts
- Ask pupils to bring into class drawings, artefacts, masks, tools, carvings, pottery and baskets either from home or that were made during their art lessons.
- Prepare five cards. On each card, write one of the following words: Picture makers; Weavers; Sculptors; Potters; Carpenters. Divide your class into five groups and assign each group one of the cards.
- Ask each group to categorise the objects that they have brought in and display in a separate space those that belong to the category on their card.
- Once this is done, ask groups to compare categories in order to arrive at uniform sets. The debate that will go on here is very important in building pupils’ categorisation and thinking skills and will help them identify the key things they want to include on their display labels.
- Ask each group to write a name and an information label for each object in their display.
- Ask each group, in turn, to arrange their display for public viewing, while other pupils pretend to be visitors. Ask the ‘visitors’ to feed back to the groups how they could improve their labels.
- Prepare the final draft of the labels and give your class time to set up the displays.
- Devise a rota of pupils to act as custodians of the display while it is open. It may be open only at break times and lunch time.
- After the exhibition, discuss with your pupils what they gained from the experience both in terms of understanding about the artefacts and of being involved in such an event.