Local History Month – Westbury Manor

Westbury Manor is a small museum in Fareham, top floor covers the history of the area and downstairs has a changing exhibition.  We visit regularly, sometimes for 20 mins while we wait for a bus, sometimes for workshops.  We like it, has the right mix of hands on stuff in the way of games/dolls houses and displays.

On Thursday I’d arranged a small home ed trip to do their self guided activities.  The lovely museum education officer had mixed together their KS1 and KS2 to leave us a big box of stuff to do.   We started with that awkward moment when I’d sat myself down to have a look through the box only to glance up and realise everyone had formed a circle around me expectantly.  Good job I’m not hugely self-conscious 😉

We started off with feely bags and guessing mystery objects the most intriguing was one of these (forgot to get a picture of the one there).  Most of the adults mistook it for bellows – any guesses?

DOC_1985-1460Followed by a game of snap with cards of pictures from the displays.  Failed badly as too many people and too few snaps, so adapted to physical snap where they had to find the item on their card in the museum.



We then split into small groups to do some of their packs looking at specific displays.

We started off in the strawberry gallery (massive local industry in the past).  There was a trail to solve a mystery about missing strawberries, you had to find the answers to clues by reading the displays.  All very nicely done, we’ve been in there loads and I picked up details I’d not seen before.

20140515_5 20140515_7 20140515_8 We then had a look at the model of Fareham Creek 100 years ago and had to sort a range of buildings, transport and industries into ones that could be seen in the model, ones that we couldn’t see but would have existed at the time and things that wouldn’t have existed.

20140515_15 20140515_11We did a quick look activity finding examples of different materials in the displays before ending with an activity in the potteries gallery where they were given the answer to a question and had to use the displays to make up the questions.  Brick building was another large local industry and ‘Fareham reds’ were used to build the Royal Albert Hall.


By this point it was clear everyone was flagging so with the bonus of being self-led we packed up, gave the box back and headed outside to the museum garden for a restorative picnic.  We missed looking too closely at the story of the local workhouse and it’s scandal, it is one we have touched on a few times though and am sure will be back.

After lunch with spirits restored we headed into the temporary exhibition, board games from 1920’s-1970’s.  To be honest I think looking at games in cases is only really of interest if you remember some of them and even I’m too young for that.  Did spot one I might try and source for Sam though.  They did have some to play though and Sam enjoyed himself.

20140515_2620140515_33Okay last one is more building than playing.




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