School visits to the museum and/or Traders & Whalers can be arranged by contacting either Nigel or Teresa.
Groups must be well supervised* and focused in their studies. Adults are charged half the normal admittance fee on the understanding that they will actively help co-ordinate and supervise the group. It may be possible to open outside our normal operating days/hours, although naturally there will be days when we cannot be available for any number of reasons, so please check with us well in advance.
We would encourage teachers, where practical, to visit the museum sometime prior to their class visit to become familiar with the physical layout and exhibitions, and design a more focused programme for their specific age level and topic being studied. If we can help with this process please ask, as nothing frustrates us more than giving up our time for poorly organized visits.
*Note - adequate supervision of groups is mandatory as it is a health and safety issue - in case of emergency/evacuation etc.
You may download the accompanying teachers' guide to use as a basis for your group's worksheets. It describes the 'Traders & Whalers' attraction chronologically and suggests questions you may use to focus students' attention in each area of the displays.
[Note: we have supplied the answers to each of the questions in italics. You will need to remove these from your students' copies]
As you enter 'Traders and Whalers' allow a moment for your eyes to adjust to the low light levels in the caverns. These caverns are based on the storage caves and tunnels that used to be on Paritutu rock and the offshore islands of New Plymouth in the 1820 - 1840 period. The first character you will meet is a whaler sharpening harpoons.
The next cavern has Dicky Barrett trading with a Maori
Continue past the spring where water falls from the roof down into a rock pool.
Next cavern on your right
Next cavern on your left.
Past the 'Warning Ghost' sign - look through the narrow grill for Dicky Barrett's ghost - it appears about every 10 seconds... In the cavern adjacent to the ghost a Maori woman strips flax leaves for its fibre.
Now move into the large cavern where you will be directed into boats for the journey through an early Taranaki landscape, when our coastlines witnessed abductions, massacres and bloody revenge, but also on occasions, selfless courage and devoted loyalty - when traders and Maoris formed remarkable partnerships in the face of common threats.
After leaving the boats, students climb the stairs over the bridge, to a long gallery, where a series of static displays help to explain the events featured on the boat ride - artefacts, scale models, photographs and text help establish an historical and social context of this period in our history. These are our stories - unique and compelling - and many of the places featured can still be visited today - some sites little changed from those earlier times.
Visiting these places is to make a connection with our past - a unique and tangible link with our forbears. It can only help in gaining a respect for this land, its peoples and its cultures.