Schools step back into Bristol’s Chocolate past

Posted on by Kerrie Dodd.

Lucy Fulton – Engagement Officer, Formal Learning Team

In the run-up to Easter, school children have been discovering Bristol’s Chocolate-producing past with us during a visit to M Shed.

Way back in 1753 Joseph Fry opened the first chocolate business in Bristol and for two centuries the industry boomed, with Elizabeth Shaw, Webers, Packers and Cadbury’s all opening factories in and around the city. As a result we’ve acquired numerous objects connected to the history of chocolate production. Some of these make an appearance in our school workshops we run aimed at children in Years 3-5.

Pupils investigating Chocolate or the city of Bristol as part of their History curriculum are able to step back in time to find out what a chocolate factory would have been like in the 1960s. During the one-hour session we investigate original artefacts such as a huge Easter Egg mould, chocolate decorating tools, various pourers and fillers and original packaging.

Discover Chocolate school workshops at M Shed

Through hands-on activities schools explore the process of making chocolate – from the pod to the wrapper! We even role-play life on a factory production line. As well as holding and touching museum objects, the children learn through oral histories of chocolate workers from the ‘50s and ‘60s. It’s an interactive chocolate experience, complete with white aprons and gloves. One that both children and teachers love – and we do too!

Pictured here are pupils from Redland School for Girls who visited us in February and had a scrumptious time. What wonderful facial expressions they make too!  Each child received a sticker to wear home as a little souvenir of their participation – but if that’s not enough, we sell locally made Chocolate and memorabilia in our museum shop.

If you’re a teacher or know one, we’ll be running more Chocolate workshops in May, June, October and November 2016. For more information or to book a session see our Discover Chocolate school workshop page.

You can also sign up to our Teachers’ newsletter to receive updates on our Learning programme across all our museums sites, which is sent out once a term.

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