IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


IOE students and London schoolchildren take over the Grant Museum

7 July 2020

Two IOE Master’s students, Maja Neske and Sara Rayment, have worked with primary school pupils at George Mitchell School in Leyton, London to perform a virtual takeover of the Grant Museum of Zoology.

Grant Museum of Zoology building, London. Image: Mary Hinkley, © UCL Digital Media

Visitors can see fascinating images of the exhibition and labels prepared by the children on the One Horned Rhino, the Japanese Spider Crab, an Elephant Skull, Dugongs and many more.

Museums and Galleries in Education MA students Maja and Sara worked with the Year 5 (9-10 years old) class throughout the year as part of UCL Culture's Creating Aspirations project. The IOE students joined the pupils on several visits to UCL’s Grant Museum and Petrie Museum of Egyptology, organised scavenger hunts, helped them write labels and explored the UCL campus with them. The visits were followed up with workshops in their school to re-visit topics, write labels, discuss roles in museums and handle objects.

Rhino skull. Image: Fred Langford-Edwards via UCL Imagestore.

Last year, Maja and Sara worked with pupils from George Mitchell School to create a museum within their school after visits to the Grant Museum and the Petrie Museum. This year, the children were supposed to do a real takeover day of the Museum and work in the roles of the professional museum staff, including working in front of house at the reception, being a tour guide, security personnel or cleaner for a few hours each, looking after marketing and social media for the museum and taking care of roles in the conservation department.

As lockdown was in place during the scheduled takeover, instead the pupils wrote an introduction about the project and the change of plan because of the pandemic as part of the virtual takeover. They finalised their labels and even added several in other languages, including in Spanish, French, Romanian, Tamil, Arabic, and recorded videos to tell the public about the project.

This project is part of UCL Culture’s East Schools programme and is managed by Emma Bryant, Schools Engagement Manager: Museums, UCL Culture.

The Grant Museum of Zoology is one of the oldest natural history collections in the UK, and is the last remaining university natural history museum in London.

Visit the Grant Museum takeover



  • Top: Grant Museum of Zoology building, London. Image: Mary Hinkley, © UCL Digital Media
  • Above: Rhino skull. Image: Fred Langford-Edwards