Travelling cabinets

3 February 2010 by Lisa

The second story taken from the archives this week about World Museum, is from 1888. I’m not sure how our curators would feel about sending cabinets of precious specimens out to schools today, but at that time the museum’s ‘schools loans service’ provided a great way for children to learn about different types of artefacts while in the classroom.

A cabinet of animal specimens

A portable museum!

On 3 February 1888 John H Wood, Secretary of the Liverpool and District Teachers’ Association, wrote a letter to the museum in praise of its schools loan service:

“…as a proof of the usefulness of the boxes, that scholars were set thinking and enquiring, so they have proved a real aid to teaching. We should be glad to get them oftener, since they have been so helpful an interesting.

…the selection and arrangement of duplicate specimens of instructive and attractive character from the museum collections, and placing them in small portable cabinets of less than two feet cubical measurement, of plain simple construction, and very portable.

These cabinets are circulated one by one for a definite period of one month among such of the public elementary schools of all denominations, within the parliamentary boundaries of the city, as have, on invitation, expressed a desire to see them.

Sixteen cabinets are in circulation, and sixty-four schools have each had a cabinet for one month, with very satisfactory results.”

The pioneer schools loan service was launched at the museum in the spring of 1884, and was the first in any museum.

(Comments are closed for this post.)

About our blog

Welcome to the National Museums Liverpool blog! Written by our staff and volunteers, we’ll give you a peek behind the scenes of our museums and galleries.




We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.