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Destination Haslar! Students discover surgeon collectors in the Royal Navy

Over the last few months, year 5 students at Rowner Junior School in Gosport (UK) have been researching C19th collectors of empire who created a museum at the local Haslar Naval Hospital.

Using a Global Citizen Learning Framework and digital resources provided by The Earth Museum, the students produced their own bespoke online map resource from selected information they gleaned in the process. They researched C19th expeditions of empire (especially those of the Royal Navy to polar destinations), and the Haslar doctors who accompanied them to provide medical support for the crews involved.

These doctors, or surgeons, collected various natural science and cultural items from the places and communities encountered on these voyages. On their return they gave them to the museum at Haslar, which gained the interest of very prominent visitors including Charles Darwin. Students were encouraged to explore these stories and also reflect on the nature of encounter from an indigenous point of view.

Students selected artefacts from the Haslar Museum collection, now housed at the British Museum and Natural History Museum, drawing on information from collection online resources. They decided where these items fitted on the global map and pinpointed their location by finding their GPS latitude and longitude. As well as producing a spreadsheet containing all other relevant information such as ‘what is the item made from’? To augment this when viewed, and to become part of the story themselves, the students added a personal touch in the form of artwork based on their chosen items.

All this data was uploaded onto an online map using our prototype Create The Earth Museum platform. Ultimately the students’ journey was one of collaboration, a journey along which they shared a brief outing into the world, while appreciating far-reaching events of greater impact, such as that one society may have over another or over the environment.

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