What is the Outreach service?



Following the transfer of the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum (BECM) collections to Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives Service (BMGA) in Spring 2012, BMGA’s Learning team are pleased to answer any enquiries – please contact us at museumbookings@bristol.gov.uk


We are happy to come to you. The Education team is committed to supporting formal and informal learning about the history of The British Empire and Commonwealth.

We will come to your school to teach an introductory session on our featured online workshops.

  • Toys of the Commonwealth
  • Suitcase Stories
  • Understanding Slavery

We will bring a loan box, including handling objects, oral history and archive material, and explain and discuss the objects and their history.

As a special offer for Black History Month, we will also be delivering the following Oral History workshop as an introduction to primary source material for your students, using the extensive archive at The British Empire and Commonwealth Museum.

Oral History and Personal Testimony

  • Listening skills
  • Introduction to primary sources
  • History
  • Citizenship
  • Suitable for Key Stage 2 and 3

Listening to someone’s personal story is a wonderful way to learn. We all like stories and can empathise with the story teller. Oral History is all about the detail.

“I remember the extraordinary light in Africa and the air which was like drinking a glass of champagne… I was wearing a red dress that was too tight and the railway station was full of people… I went by myself in my little car, the hospital in the middle of the jungle…”

Playing short pieces from our extensive audio archive, we will explore together:

  • Why oral history is so compelling?
  • What is oral history?
  • How does spoken testimony differ from the written word?
  • What can we can learn from somebody’s voice?
  • Group discussions – what have we learnt, what questions would we ask?
  • We can also offer a more practical session on interviewing and recording.