Revitalizing the School Museum: Using nature-based objects for cross-curricular learning

Caroline Cornish, Felix Driver, Mark Nesbitt, Julia Willison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article analyses an educational initiative between Kew Gardens, Royal Holloway, University of London, and two London primary schools. The schools, in areas of high ethnic diversity, worked with the members of the Mobile Museum project team – including the Learning Department at Kew and researchers at both institutions – to create their own school museums. The idea was inspired by historical research conducted by the project team that demonstrated Kew’s involvement in the promotion of object-based learning in schools. The project team worked with teachers and pupils to develop a participatory approach to learning about plants and their uses through the creation of school museums. A whole-school framework was adopted, extending the potential reach of the project to pupils’ parents and communities. Inspired by the collections at Kew, schools used plants and plant-associated artefacts to learn more about the rich diversity of pupils’ cultural backgrounds and of the importance of plants to their heritage and their everyday lives.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberRJME-2021-0034
Pages (from-to)334-347
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Museum Education
Issue number3
Early online date2 Sept 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Sept 2021


  • object-based learning, biocultural, collections, plant science, botany, ethnobotany, whole-school approach, heritage.

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