WW11 Harley Davidson  cc
WW11 Harley Davidson cc

We all use objects as a way of undetanding our world. That is why museums display their collections of artefacts. A motorcycle, a telephone, a carriage, a knife and fork, all conjure up images of the people who used them and the lives they led. Even the most mundane objects can reveal a range of information if we ask the right qeustions.


Auschwitz shoes Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Auschwitz shoes Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

This task is about Reading Artefacts or real objects.

Why can't we use pictures you may ask?

In most cases we can almost certainly learn something from reading pictures or photographs or watching a video.

However, the following aspects may be lost.

  • Detail, Exact colouring, Smell, Taste
  • Ambience, sense of location
  • Size, scale, weight, mass
  • Texture, shape, marks of manufacture, 3-dimensional design
  • Sense of history or age
  • Clues to the story behind the object

Your task is to examine an artefact from the diplay in a heritage site and to find out and document he stroy of the people who, owned, used or cherished it!


Carriage cc
Carriage cc

Follow the process to explore your chosen object.

In the classroom.


1. Make a mini musuem of yourself. Each learner is to choose three personal objects to tell a story about themselves and their lives. Only 3D objects or real photographs are allowed for this exercise. No digital photos, videos, or PPT to be used

2. Arrange the objects on your bench and give them labels

3. Prepare a 5 minute presentation of your objects for you classmates

4. Decide if they can touch, taste, smell etc the objects or not

5. Decide if you are going to tell a story, ask questions ie Is your presentation a monologue or a dialogue? 

At the heritage site

1. Chose an object from the display.

2. read the display text if it exists

3. Use the list of questions in the document "reading Artefacts" and aswer as many as you can about your object.

The questions are divided into sub catorgories 

A, Physical Features

B, Construction

C, Function

D, Design

E, Value

4. Use the interent to reserchmore about your object.

In the classroom

Prepare a display about a person who may have used, owned or cherished the object that you chose to investigate at the heritage site.

Learning Outcomes

  • To develop the ability to interpret artefacts aids our understanding of the world

Knowledge acquired

  • To develop specialist knowledge and facts relatd to chosen and specific objects in the study.

Skills acquired

  • To undertand how different objects are made and used.

Competences acquired

  • To be able to use objects for story telling purposes.


Objects provide graphic illustrations of continuity and change Heritage sites and musuems use displays to demonstrate the differences and similarities of objects through time. Now you have looked behind the display and found out about the peope behind the object.