Our schools loans box membership scheme is now up and running with over 25 boxes to choose from, with subjects ranging from the Ancient Greeks to chocolate. The scheme enables schools to use and handle actual accessioned museum objects in the classroom.

But what do these boxes look like inside and out? Let’s take a closer look at one of my favourites…

A black box with yellow writing on the front that reads 'Leeds museums and Galleries, Space one'

The outside of one of the loans boxes.

Although we call them “boxes” they’re really heavy duty carry cases which contain the objects on the chosen subject. In this case, Space.

Practical contents of the box.

Practical contents of the box.

Inside the space box.

Inside the space box.

As you can see, the objects inside the box are well protected. Some are laid on a foam tray and wrapped in tissue paper and the paper objects are safely kept in sealed plastic wallets. Included in the box are the handling instructions for the objects and nitrile gloves to wear whilst handling them. We also include additional notes with handling instructions and extra information on the objects that expand beyond the object itself.

Below are the items from the Space box for a closer inspection.

  • A model of Doctor Who from the mid-2000s.

  • Postcard from 1918

  • A birthday card from 1967

  • Pallasite meteorite fragments.

  • Piece of Tektite (from a meteorite)

  • Model of Professor Albert Einstein from the Doctor Who TV series.

  • Telescope from the early 1900s.

The Space box is quite abstract and varied with what it contains, but with the objects, the guidance notes and a little imagination they can be used to explore more than what the objects themselves represent. The postcard for example can be used to talk about the First World War, as it is from that era and shows the children looking to the stars for a sign of peace. It can also be used to talk about Astrology too! The birthday card is also a good example of this as it can be used to talk about the Space Race.

The Space Box is my favourite loans box as the objects are fun and abstract, but also it includes some really great pieces from our Geology collection, like the Pallasite Meteorite fragments which are over 4.5 billion years old. One of the fragments is Tektite, a natural glass made from debris being ejected during a meteorite impact.

With new loans boxes being created all the time there will be plenty for schools to choose from.

By James Ward, Membership Assistant for Leeds Museums and Galleries

If you would like to borrow any of our schools loans boxes, please email us.