9 January—12 July 2024

Workshop: Ships and Sailors

Please note that this workshop will NOT be available during December 2023.

In 1675 a Bristol ship, the Bristol Merchant, sailed for Smyrna in Turkey laden with goods intended for trading. The ship and its crew never returned. Discover more about the ill-fated voyage and the dangers faced by ships and sailors at sea.

Children will:

  • Learn about the everyday life of a 17th century sailor on board the Bristol Merchant
  • Consider some of the dangers of trading overseas in the 17th century, including piracy
  • Handle and study objects, documents and images related to life on board 17th century merchant ships

Suitable for: Year 1-3
Duration: 1 hour
Group size: Up to 35 pupils – you can book more than one session

We have sessions available from 10.15am.

Planning on having a picnic as part of your visit? FREE use of our lunch room is included in the cost of your session.


Bristol Plays Music curriculum

This workshop can be used to support the Bristol Plays Music curriculum: Air and Water. We are happy to incorporate music you have been studying in school, so please contact us to include these in your session.

Artsmark Award

This workshop also supports Artsmark Award criteria: pupil engagement, range of offer, values and ethos, partnerships and local cultural visit. To make the most of your visit why not listen and learn the sea shanty ‘Yeave Ho’ used in this workshop.

Learning enquiry form

Please complete this form to start the booking process.

Your name
Providing a range of dates will help us find a suitable workshop as they book up quickly
Available at M Shed and Bristol Museum & Art Gallery only. Complimentary use when booking a workshop. Charged at £1 per child for independent visits.

Additional information

Children will work in five groups. To get the most from your visit, please organise children into groups before your workshop begins.

We encourage pupils and adults to come dressed in suitable costume: headscarf, loose shirt or top, long shorts or ¾ length trousers, neckerchief.

Each group will require support from at least one adult. Recommended ratio: one adult for every six children.

You are welcome to take photographs. We’d love you to share pictures of your school trip with us on social media.

Eating and drinking is not permitted in the museum apart from the school lunch room. Crumbs attract pests and our collections are far too precious to be attacked!

More local history sessions for schools

M Shed offers a range of local history sessions to support you with your curriculum.