The Reticulum Project - museum-based learning for children: an innovative approach to the Romans in Northern England

Jo Catling and Arlene Rankin

The Museum of Antiquities University of Newcastle. Tel: 0191 222 5516
Jo Catling:, Arlene Rankin:


The Reticulum Project was initially set up as a partnership between The Museum of Antiquities at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and the First Schools in the Blyth Valley, Northumberland, as part of the Department for Education and Employment (DfEE) Museums and Galleries Education Programme (MGEP). The aim was to use the resources of the Museum to encourage children to develop a greater understanding of life in the North of England during the Roman period.

Reticulum logo
Figure 1: Remus Retiarius, our Project logo

Project staff worked alongside teachers in both the Museum and their classrooms, providing pupils with opportunities to handle artefacts and develop their thinking skills. Alongside traditional teaching methods we offered support with ICT and explored ways in which video-conferencing and e-mail could be used as interactive tools for learning.

Visits to the Museum by school groups have been maximised by the multi-faceted approach of the Project. Pupils are already familiar with museum staff from school visits and video-conferencing and they arrive with an enhanced expectancy; the observational skills they have learnt in the classroom equip them to view the objects on display with greater awareness; they are more confident when asking questions.

The Reticulum Website is an informative mix of text and images based on the children's work. The majority of the illustrations are by children who have been involved in the Project, interspersed with images of objects, maps and diagrams. It is still under construction and will be continually updated. As the Project has progressed, productive relationships between the schools, Museum and the wider community of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne have developed which continue to benefit children within our region.

This article sets out to disseminate some of the elements of the Reticulum Project, which is ongoing, outlining the highlights as well as drawing attention to some of the problems encountered during the running of the Project.

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Last updated: Tue Aug 20 2002

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