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In this activity, pupils will compare and contrast objects from the period rooms in the British Galleries with their own living rooms at home. They will choose from the period rooms at the Museum four objects which have the same function as objects in their own living rooms. Back at school they will produce pairs of labelled drawings to show similarities and differences to form a class display.


KS1 - Identify differences between ways of life at different times. How to find out about the past from a range of sources of information
KS1 - Speaking, listening, group discussion and interaction
QCA links
'What were homes like a long time ago?'


Here you will find some ideas to help you prepare yourself and your pupils for a visit to the British Galleries.


We strongly recommend that you visit the Museum prior to bringing your class. This will give you a much clearer idea of how you can use the galleries. We suggest that you familiarise yourself with the spaces in the galleries and the route to them from the Exhibition Road entrance. Visit the Bromley-by-Bow, Henrietta Street and Lee Priory rooms which are the focus for this activity. Explore some of the gallery interactives. These have not been designed for use by school groups but you might find them useful for supporting information. Look at:

The 'What is it?' display series  Discovery Areas in galleries 52, 57, 122
The 'spot the difference' series Galleries 53A, 56, 58A, 118, 125B
Country Houses film Gallery 118
An Adam Interior video Gallery 118
Talking about design:
The Henrietta Street Room
 Gallery 54
Talking about design:
Horace Walpole on Lee Priory
 Gallery 120

To find out more about the period rooms mentioned in this activity and to view some images see supporting information.


Talk to pupils about what sort of rooms people live in today. Bring in some pictures of interiors and ask pupils to identify similarities and differences. Pupils could compare the pictures with their own living rooms.

Show pupils some pictures of 16th, 18th and 19th century interiors and explain that they will be visiting the Museum to find out about the types of homes that rich people lived in a long time ago.

Ask pupils to think about the kind of activities that they do in their own living rooms in preparation for their research in the Museum.


The task for pupils in the Museum is to find objects in the period rooms and to record them through drawing. Pupils should think about how to label the different parts of an object. Pupils could use the worksheet available on this site to help them with this task.

The class should already have been briefed on the task and should be ready to start when they get to the Museum. Divide the class into groups, each with a helper. Each group should try to visit at least two of the period rooms.

Helpers should encourage pupils to think about the following questions before they begin their drawings. This will help to focus pupils on the task and could be done as a question-and-answer exercise at the period rooms.

How is this room different from your living rooms at home (or from one of the other period rooms on display)?
What activities might have taken place in this room?
What are the objects made of?


Pupils should list the similarities and differences between objects they saw in the period rooms at the Museum and those they have in their own living rooms at home.

They should then use the drawings they made in the Museum to produce larger, labelled drawings to show these similarities and differences. These should form the basis of the class display.

As an extension exercise, you could print off some of the line drawings in the 'Design a worksheet' section and use these to help pupils investigate different types of objects from different times in history.


We are keen to get your feedback on this activity as well as any suggestions for other ways of using the British Galleries. Use the online evaluation form here

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Programmes of work | Design a worksheet | Tell us what you think | How to book | British Galleries Website