UCL London


Capturing the past: London children create time capsule

Children at a Camden primary school have developed a time capsule in an innovative project supported by UCL.

30 October 2018

Staff from UCL Special Collections and the Museum of London Archaeology worked with pupils at Edith Neville Primary School, creating class archives that will go into the time capsule. It will be buried on the school site next year.

The project was designed to encourage the children to explore the notion of keeping objects for the future and finding things from the past. This was achieved through a series of workshops. 

As a first step to exploring the idea of creating an archive, parents and teachers at the school’s Summer Fair decorated a model tree with memories written on paper leaves. The model itself was made by two parents at the school. "It was important for us to make sure we included as many members of the school community as we could," explained Vicky Price, Special Collections Education Coordinator at UCL.

Years 1, 2 and 3 discovered the content of an imaginary ‘mystery’ archive, based on children’s book The Gruffalo. Years 4, 5 and 6 predicted the future and wrote letters to their 19-year-old selves. Pupils also used their drama skills to predict what life might be like in ten years’ time.

"We have seen pupils of all ages excel at work that utilises their imagination," said Vicky. "This project was designed for a particular school and set of circumstances, but we have developed workshop content that can be used with future classes. We hope to develop these ideas further so that we can offer schools a workshop that serves as an introduction to archives."

Read more about how UCL is engaging London or browse all case studies.