Moving Stories - Workshops and Performance

Investigating the Past

Imagine someone from the future was trying to find out about your life today - who you are, how you live, what you do, events that have happened to you.


If you were to create a time capsule to help them what might you put in it? Photos perhaps, film recordings, pod casts, newspaper articles, your favourite books or objects, perhaps even your phone or iPod?


In the same way, when we’re trying to find out about the past, we need to gather together this information to help create a picture of what life was like. This is where museums, libraries and archives can be extremely useful as they house great collections of objects and archive material such as photos, posters, leaflets, letters, newspapers, film footage and oral histories.


To find out more about living and working in the 1920s and 30s have a look at the interactive, which has film footage, photos, posters and oral histories. Also check out your local studies library to investigate newspaper articles from the past which are kept on microfilm (librarians will be able to help you with this).

When looking at photos, describe to a friend what you see:

Do you notice any differences in fashion, architecture or transport to what we see today?

Does it tell you anything about the way people lived or worked?

Who might have taken the photos and why?


Similarly with posters, leaflets and newspaper articles think about:

Who wrote them and why?

Who were they aimed at?

What information do they tell you?


Again, with objects describe to a friend what you see:

What does it look and feel like?

What might it have been used for and why?

Who might have used it?


Investigating the past in this way allows us to gradually build up a picture of what it was like to live and work in a particular period of time.   The students on this project were then able to use their research to inform their performances and bring past events to life.

Document icon Learning article provided by: National Railway Museum | 
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