Monday, 30 April 2012

The Great Bed of Ware - revisited

Today McKee class made a return visit to Ware Museum. This time to see the Great Bed, re-assembled and in situ.

With the bed

After a short introduction about the bed, we broke into three groups and participated in three different workshops. We were able to look all around the bed and Luca thought it was really colourful. Zachary was surprised how big it was and Mika liked the pretty patterns on the bed. We were not allowed to touch the real bed, but were able to touch a replica wooden bed post and try our hand at stencilling a design typical of the era. Grace enjoyed the stencilling.

We also looked at the layers of the bed and contrasted these with a bed of today. Rebecca thought it was very funny when she pushed so hard on the mattress springs that she fell over! Jessica loved the flowers and patterns on the wood.

Feeling the wooden carvings

Touching the smooth wood
Using the specially commissioned stencil

The stencil design

The second workshop involved learning about night clothes. We found out that the people who slept in the bed, when it was first made, did not wear night clothes! The men just slept in their shirts and the women in their underdress. In the morning they just put their clothes back on top of these! Eloise enjoyed dressing up in these but did not think she would like to do this in real life.
We got the chance to try on some reproductions of night clothes from this era, the Victorian era and some our grandparents might have worn. Jessica loved her lilac silk nightie and Rimini thought the bows and frills on the Victorian nightdress were very pretty, as well as the buttons.

Buttons and bows

We were able to feel the texture of the different fabrics and compare them with each other. The oldest ones were thick and rough and the newest soft and smooth. 

Old and new night clothes
Our third workshop, again encouraged us to use our senses and to ask questions. We were able to touch, feel and even smell several objects and sort them into two sets - NOW and PAST. We knew what most of the items were but the bed warming pan and the leather tankard were a bit of a mystery. Archie, Hollie and Daniel enjoyed sorting these items.

Smelling the leather tankard.

Sorting items from the past and present.
We finished off our visit by singing "There were ten in the bed" which some say is said to have been written about the Great bed of Ware.

The children all said they would like to go again. They will soon be given a "loyalty card" and need to collect four stamps. McKee class will get one for seeing the bed arrive, a second for today, a third at the end of the month when the museum visit school for an assembly and if they then return to the museum with their family they can claim a fourth stamp and a bookmark or a badge.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed going to Ware Museum with McKee class, thank you for inviting me! The children were really well-behaved. My funniest moment was getting the children to understand that, in the old days, the bed-warming pan was not necessarily used to cook pasta in!!!