IWCEP - Cultural Education Partnership Ident - Teal, Pink and Fern
Fulfilling the creative potential of young people on the Isle of Wight

Rural life on the Isle of Wight

  • Facilitator Led
  • Victorians
  • Key stage 1, Key stage 2

What to expect

Discover what daily life might have been like for a child living in the Isle of Wight countryside during Victorian times. We will bring to life ‘The Cornfield’ by John Constable, imagining life for a young shepherd boy. Original artefacts, replica costumes and photographs from Island photographer James Dore, are used to explore aspects of daily life for a rural child. Activities include trying on replica costume, handling Victorian artefacts, using dip pens and slates and exploring the museum gallery, if the workshop is held in the Museum of Island History.


  1. To help students understand rural life during Victorian times.
  2. To learn some of the different jobs people did in the countryside.
  3. To show how archives and artefacts can be used to help our understanding of the Victorians.
  4. To enable students to handle original and replica items that relate to the Victorians
  5. Have a better insight into what rural life was like for children in the past and how it compares to their own lives today.
  6. Compare everyday objects such as clothing, food and technology in the past with today.

Session Activities:

The workshop will start with a short presentation with artefacts, roleplay and costume to introduce the daily life of a Victorian shepherd boy.  Students can participate in a range of activities that will include:

  • Trying on replica costume
  • Handling Victorian artefacts
  • Using feely bags to guess and describe artefacts
  • Identifying artefacts and costume in the photographs of James Dore
  • Using dip pens and slates
  • Exploring the museum gallery if the workshop is held in the Museum of Island History

This workshop is available in school or at the Museum of Island History.

About the Museum of Island History

Situated within the historic Guildhall on Newport High Street, the museum provides a fascinating exploration of Island history from the time of the dinosaurs to the present day.  Visitors can view incredible objects highlighting the Island’s diverse historical past; including hands on displays and the latest archaeological finds, as well as visit a range of exciting, changing exhibitions throughout the year.

Discover free activities to support your visit.


Key information

Level: Key Stage 1 and 2

Curriculum links: History, Art, English

Duration: 1hr

Open for Schools: The museum is available exclusively for schools on Mon, Wed and Fri throughout the year.

Pupil numbers: 32 (max)

Cost: £4/pupil at the Museum of Island History or £110 in school for one class, £180 for two classes


Artefact Boxes

The Heritage Education Service can loan items of historical, archaeological and geological interest to schools. Boxes of original artefacts, replicas and models on a range of topics from dinosaurs to the 1970s can support classroom activities before or after a workshop or museum visit. Loans can be delivered and collected direct to your school for just £45 for up-to eight loan boxes.


Enquire now by completing the form below