Cultures in Contact
School project
Year 7-9 students


Cultures in Contact was a three-year project supported by Deutsche Bank, running from 2009–2011. Its aim was to create a historical framework to help young people develop an awareness and understanding of their position in a world continually shaped by the interaction of different cultures.

With a focus on whole year groups in four London secondary schools, the project provided sustained learning opportunities throughout Key Stage 3. It took the young people on a cultural journey through history, with activities adapting to their changing interests, modes of thinking and expression.

Each year the students visited the Museum with pre- and post-visit experiences at school which provided stimulating learning activities based around the unique objects in the Museum’s collection, including working with re-enactors, trading games and digital technology. The varied learning experiences can be seen by scrolling through the images on the right.

In their historical journey, students explored encounters between Europeans and indigenous peoples in the 16th and 17th centuries, through the development of European empires and finally the achievement and legacy of empire.

Benin re-enactor
  • 1

    During the first year students worked with
    historical re-enactors.

  • 2

    They examined artefacts in order to find evidence of people's encounters.

  • 2

    Role-plays and historical simulations were used in the second year.

  • 2

    Students took on roles to investigate the division of Africa by European powers.

  • 2

    Students used digital tablets in the galleries to explore key objects.

  • 2

    They created digital films showing how newly independent countries use objects.

Related sessions

Objects in focus 
Secondary sessions at the Museum which can either be based on any of the historical themes mentioned here, or investigate cultural identities.