Higher education

Object-based learning session at the Grant Museum

Using objects in teaching

Dodo bones, original manuscripts and Roman sandals are not just priceless treasures tucked away in UCL's museums and special collections; they are invaluable educational tools.

With three museums open to the public, prized literary and art collections and a growing digital library at its disposal, UCL enjoys a unique position from which to promote object-based learning in its teaching.

Using objects in teaching not only helps students to understand their subject but also develops academic and transferable skills such as team work and communication, analytical research skills, practical observation and drawing skills. It can also trigger innovative dissertation topics.

Use of the collections is effective at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels and UCL's museums currently work with courses from across the whole spectrum of academic disciplines, engaging thousands of students with innovative object-based learning every year.

UCL's new Arts and Sciences (BASc) degree includes a second year core module entitled Object Lessons: Communicating knowledge through collections, which is built around object-based learning methodology.


If you would like to develop a new session which uses the museum collections there is plenty of support at hand, from Teaching Fellow - Thomas Kador. and a range of curators and museum experts. Museum staff are always happy to work with you to create new learning opportunities for your students or to enhance existing courses with object-focused activity. Our museums also provide inspiring environments for teaching.

Object-based e-resources

Take a look at our object-based e-resources which have been designed in consultation with teaching staff for use across a wide range of subjects from the life sciences to artefact studies.