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Cavan County Museum has been facilitating a cross border Peace III initiative Connecting People, Places and Heritage for the last 9 years. The aim of this project was to bring together primary school children from Cavan and Fermanagh. Using their different history, heritage and traditions the children learn about prejudice and respect as well as peace and reconciliation and living together.

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I recently worked as project co-coordinator on this project and managed the delivery and facilitation of the programme. This was my first employment as a freelance consultant with Wilson Higgins Heritage Consultancy and it was definitely a steep learning curve.

peace project.jpg 6I was more than used to facilitating educational workshops and dealing with school children but the administration work was all new to me. This project is a well established one and it’s reputation within the county is extremely high so I was very aware of ensuring that the standards that had been set by my predecessor were maintained.

peace project.jpg 4I was lucky enough to have facilitated a variety of workshops on this project during my time as an intern at Cavan County Museum so when the position as project coordinator arised I was in prime position to take over. For the project we invited eleven different schools from Cavan and Fermanagh to visit the museum and take part in a variety of workshops themed under the banner of peace, reconciliation and community.

Each school would come to the museum and spend the day learning about the museum and its fabulous collection. The  children would take part in workshops, which were divided into three topics, one focused on a new exhibition in the museum The Story of Emigration in County Cavan which was facilitated by my colleague Dwaine Martin and an art workshop facilitated by Konik Art Studio, Pawel Kleszczewski and Kasia Zimnoch. For the art workshop the children created a 3D art installation Peace City Cavan which was a collaborative piece that instilled a sense of team work in the participants. I will return to Peace City Cavan in a later blog as it warrants more space than I can afford it in this piece.

The workshops that I carried out throughout the project were all history orientated. As we dealt with children of varying ages I had to adapt my workshops to allow for the level of the participants. The workshop I undertook the most and the one I am most fond of delivering is a Stone Age workshop. The museum has a fantastic handling collection on the stone age which means that my workshop could be very hands on as I passed around stone axeheads and flint knives amongst other things. This workshop was always very popular and I think one of the main reasons for this is that the children get the opportunity to be tactile and touch the objects. I found when I was at school I learned better when things were hands on and I could see that many of the children had the same feelings when it came to interpreting and receiving knowledge. I also facilated a quiz around the museum which allowed the children the opportunity to explore the collection and learn about some of lesser known artefacts that are on display.

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Overall the project was a huge success with the feedback from students and teachers being extremely positive. I thoroughly enjoyed running and taking part in the project as I delight in being able to share my passion for history with others. One of my favourite aspects of my work is delivering workshops to students. I think it is hugely important that we teach children about our history and heritage and a project like this gives me the opportunity to put all my acquired knowledge to good use. As a freelance heritage consultant I would aim to get more work of this type as it is so rewarding to be able to work with children and see them excited and enthusiastic about history. I often feel that we are losing touch with our heritage and one of my aims is to try to combat this by creating interesting and exciting workshops that teach children about history, traditions, culture and heritage.

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