Canal & River Trust – National Waterways Museum Gloucester
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What will students see and do?
The National Waterways Museum Gloucester is housed in Llanthony Warehouse, which was built in 1873. The Victorian warehouse once contained grain, timber and alcohol. Today, it offers interactive history trips, telling the story of the docks and the Victorians who worked on them. It also describes their former role in the trade routes between nearby city Birmingham and the sea.
The museum’s activities are designed to help visiting pupils study and explore the surrounding areas, discover the local wildlife and learn about the regional waterways.
On the ground floor of the museum, the activity table features several types of boats and shows how they’re built. There’s also a film with an aerial view of the River Severn. On the first floor, pupils can try out the gauging stick and learn how to lift sacks using pulleys. The ‘talking heads’ tell stories of what it was like in the past.
The first floor also has a full-sized boat cabin, and pupils can look in through the windows. They can use the crane to practise loading cargo. The wildlife table teaches pupils about different habitats, and also has some dress-up costumes for children to play as local animals.
Between April–November your group’s visit includes a boat trip aboard Queen Boadicea II. Students can see the different types of bridges in motion and eat their packed lunches on board.
As well as the different workshops designed to meet curricular outcomes, you can take pupils on a self-guided tour of the museum, which can be booked before your visit. The centre offers several custom-designed workshops for pupils with special educational needs. These can include interactive displays and stories, sensory activities and boat-related games.
The museum holds the Learning Outside of the Classroom Quality Badge. This is a seal of approval for that reflects the high standards of its educational offering.
Teaching resources provided
Teaching resources are provided for all of the activities on offer at the museum, including the free ‘trails’ workshops.
The museum’s website hosts a wide variety of free lesson plans and teaching resources to download. Some of these support the activities offered at the museum, while others serve as independent lessons for use before or after your group’s visit.
Organised into themed learning bundles, the resources include ideas for everything from canal-focused storytelling to lessons on hydraulics and advice on water safety.
If you have any requests relating to resources, contact the museum’s team.
Minimum and maximum group size
During your visit a class of up to 30 pupils will be split into two groups, with one half doing an activity while the other half visits the museum. A group of up to 60 pupils will be divided into three, with each group rotating around different activities.
Details of risk assessment
A pre-visit to the site can help you to complete your own risk assessment. You can also use the museum’s risk assessment as a guide.
Don't miss our downloadable A-Z guide on completing a risk assessment
There are accessible toilets on two floors of the museum. Some parts of the exhibition are not wheelchair accessible. Contact the Canal & River Trust to discuss any specific needs you might have.
Lunches can be eaten on the boat trip in summer, or in the learning space out of season. There is a cafe that serves hot drinks but not hot food.
The museum is open Tuesday to Saturday between 10am and 3pm.
The three ‘trails’ activities are free of charge, including resources.
A self-led visit costs £6 per pupil, including a boat trip. A volunteer-led visit is £8 per pupil, including the boat trip.
Winter visits, excluding the boat trip, are £4 per pupil. Teachers are included free of charge.
The museum is located right on the old docks of Gloucester. For navigation, enter postcode GL2 5JQ.
Coaches can drop off near to the museum on Llanthony Road. There is a 30-minute waiting limit.
Gloucester Waterways Museum, , Canal & River Trust, Llanthony Warehouse, Gloucester Docks, Gloucester, Gloucestershire
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