Thanks to the Association of Independent Museums ‘Tackling Inequalities Hallmarks Grant Award’ supported by Arts Council England, we were able to develop and launch ‘Breaking out of the Museum’, a new outreach programme bringing the Powell-Cotton Museum into the classroom.

This exciting year-long project kick-started a sustainable, long-term outreach programme for the Museum. Bringing cultural heritage into the classroom is more important than ever. As schools continue their amazing work under difficult circumstances, we will support children’s learning. Taking our passion for discussing the past from multiple points of view, these resources will not only feed into the National Curriculum but also provide age-appropriate and thoughtful ways for children to think critically about the world around them.

The grant funded two projects; ‘What’s in the Box?’ and ‘World on our Doorstep’.   Between April 2021 and July 2022 the loans box service reached over 750 pupils.

What’s in the Box?

This resource offers KS1-2 pupils the use of a museum loans box, including objects, activities, and curriculum links, as well as a virtual session with one of the Museum’s Learning and Engagement Officers.

We have two loans boxes: Natural History and Trading Textiles. Each box contains real museum objects, a teacher’s guide, and suggested learning activities, and is linked to the National Curriculum.  The Natural History loans box offers a unique hook into Animals and their Habitats, Adaptation and Teeth. The Trading Textiles loans box introduces designing and printing textiles that tell stories. It looks at the history of Kente, Adinkra and Kanga textiles from Africa, and the techniques and symbolism used to produce them. 

‘World on our Doorstep’

The unit of work, suitable for KS2 children, uses the life and collections of the Powell-Cotton family to support learning about the British Empire, colonialism, local history, and how ideas and attitudes of the past impact us today.  We created this resource in collaboration with Ramsgate Arts Primary School.  A series of meetings, testing resources, and gathering feedback ensured this product met the needs of teachers and children. Nick Budge, Headteacher said:  

The World on our Doorstep topic really helps to diversify the history curriculum. The content is easy to use and the objects in the loans box bring it to life, as well as visiting the museum. The topic enabled our children to talk about colonisation and discuss if it was a good or bad thing and form their own opinions.

This approach has led to sustained engagement, which has benefited both parties, and we are looking forward to working together on more projects in the future.


Project Team

Catriona West


The Powell-Cotton Museum, Quex House and Gardens

Emma-Jayne Hamlington

Learning and Engagement Officer

The Powell-Cotton Museum, Quex House and Gardens

Fiona Moore

former Learning and Engagement Officer

The Powell-Cotton Museum, Quex House and Gardens

Dr Inbal Livne

former Head of Collections

The Powell-Cotton Museum, Quex House and Gardens

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Loan Boxes

What's in the Box? We are excited to offer our new loan boxes to primary and secondary schools in the local area.


We have an exciting and engaging learning programme for schools and home educators. Teachers, parents and students, we are here to help enrich your learning experience.


The majority of the Museum's collections originate from the African and Asian continents. This includes over 20,000 world-culture objects, 6500 mammal specimens, and fine and decorative arts.

Beautiful frosty mornings
2022 Roundup! This was our year of trying new things; events, tours, experiences and ways of opening. Thank you to everyone who has supported us through volunteering, visiting and donating. 
2023 will be another year of change, growing on our successes and making some of the physical changes we’ve been preparing along with new events and experiences. There’s a lot to look forward to! 
We will be open tomorrow, January 1st, 11-3 and then we reopen regularly for the season on Saturday 11th February.
We’re glad to say that we were included in the ‘Digital Benin’ project, which seeks to present Benin’s rich cultural and historical heritage, preserving it for future generations of Benin / Ido people. This website has many special features, including male and female audio, Edo designation of objects and an interactive map featuring the historical landmarks of the Benin Kingdom. View at

Image: Brass box, shaped like a fish, finished. Purchased in Benin City on 30/01/1931.