Exploring and learning

Ashdon Village Museum is developing a number of educational activities based around the museum’s large collection of objects and the history of Ashdon.  Some are intended to enhance the visitor experience, some are suitable for school holiday activities, all are just for fun.

We welcome any feedback, any photos of things you’ve made, pictures of Ashdon you’ve taken on walks, your favourite pieces of Ashdon history – anything about old Ashdon – just join our Facebook page and tells us what you’ve been up to!


We are also working closely with Ashdon Village Primary School to encourage schoolchildren to explore and investigate the museum’s objects and the history of the village and past lives.

More summer holiday activities

Added:29 Jul 2021

This time we’ve got summer holiday activities on the theme of ……Holidays!  Link.

This activity is suited to younger children in early primary years

Summer holiday activities

Added: 14 July 21

Here are some activities around the theme of old fashioned toys that you can do during the holidays.  When the museum opens, perhaps you can go and explore some of the toys they have in there.


A Zoetrope is an old-fashioned way of creating and watching a moving picture. Nowadays we have films, cartoons, TV shows, but these were only invented in the last 100 years!

The museum has a zoetrope.  If you spin the black tube and look from the side, through the slits, the picture in the middle seems to move.  Can you work out what this one shows?

Why not have a go at making your own Zoetrope with pieces of card, and make a short film for someone else to watch! Here is a video to help you. Link


Wooden Train

Villagers in Ashdon would often make toys for their children out of whatever they could find, like this train made out of spare pieces of wood, because often they couldn’t afford expensive toys.

Why not have a go at making your own train out of recycling? This is called Junk modelling. Be creative and create your own style of train – it can be as wacky and futuristic as you like!



Dominoes used to be a very popular game especially to play in the evenings – remember there was no TV 70 years ago.  Everyone has played Dominoes where you have to match the same numbers of dots, but let’s make it more interesting!

Why not create your own form of dominoes using pictures or symbols?

  1. Cut out rectangle pieces of card and draw a line down the middle
  2. Decide your theme e.g. animals, shapes, or museum artefacts
  3. Choose 5 items/things to draw
  4. Draw each item/thing on several halves of the rectangle card
  5. Make sure you have drawn everything at least twice
  6. Play your own game of dominoes!


I am sure you have lots of teddies and toys at home – but which are your favourites? Why do you like them so much?  Why not have a go at being a museum curator for your teddies and toys?

  1.   Choose 5 or 6 favourite toys
  2.   Arrange them in a display to show them off
  3.   Perhaps groups them by theme, so put all the teddies together or all the trains together
  4.   Write short labels for each of the toys, think about what you want people to most know about each of your toys? You might want to include information for your visitors about
    • Where you got them from and the date you got them
    • Their most important features
    • Any special skills they have
    • Why they are important to you
    • Why you love them so much

Board Games

This is an old-fashioned board game based on bicycles and cycling!  Why not choose a theme (such as the Zoo or the museum) to make a board game out of?

  1. Create your board on a piece of card with lots of squares – is it going to be a curly line split up into squares or a big square split up into lots of little squares? Or a different shape entirely?
  2. Decide on your theme!
  3. Decide on your rules, are you going to have red spaces that mean go back to the beginning? Chose a few to place around the board
  4. Colour it in and make it look exciting!
  5. Play your game with someone else – good luck!


Skittles is a fun game that people have being playing for centuries and became the game we play at bowling alleys today!  Why not make your own skittles?

                  1. They could be empty milk bottles or kitchen roll tubes
                  2. Decorate your skittles however you like!
                  3. Set them up in a triangle shape
                  4. Roll a ball at them – could be a tennis ball or a ping pong ball, why not experiment with different balls and see what works best for your skittles!


Exploring Ashdon

Added:15 Apr 21

Now that Spring is here and the weather is warming up, you might like to get out and explore the history of Ashdon.  Download the walking tour below and see what you can discover around the village.

Ashdon historical walking tour


Making a collection

Added:8 Apr 21

Did you know that Glenn, who is the curator of the museum, started the collecting objects when he was a child? He started by collecting glass bottles he found buried in the ground and over time it grew into a collection of lots of different objects from all over Ashdon!

Do you have a collection?   Can you tell us about your collection?  What you collect? Where do you find objects?  How do you decide what is in your collection and what isn’t?  Is your collection on display?  Why don’t you write to us at the museum and tell us about your collection, and we can tell the everyone more about it on the website.








Can you find ….?

Added: 8 Mar 21

(Ages 4 to 10) While you can’t search for things in the museum just yet, have a go at exploring these pictures and see if you can find the objects.  Then in the summer you can come down and see them for real!

Ashdon archaeology

In the kitchen

At the blacksmith’s forge

Relaxing at home

Ashdon in World War II


Added: 20 Feb 21

Horses were very important to the life of Ashdon villagers right up to the 1950s.  Not only were they used to transport people and goods too and from places like Saffron Walden, they were also the equivalent of tractors, doing all the hard work pulling ploughs and carts around the villages many farms.

Make a model horse

(Ages 8+, or younger with adult help)