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					Brighton Museum & Art Gallery

An information Pack for Teachers

Explore the diversity and richness of African cultures and lifestyles
investigating artefacts and textiles

Aims of session
National Curriculum links
Risk assessment
Group Leader’s Sheet
Guidelines for your Visit
Pre visit and post visit activities
Background information
You may also like to visit


The African handling session consists of a range of objects and textiles which are split into
four areas:
    Economy and Trade
    Music and Communication
    Weaving and Clothing
    Domestic and Spiritual

The handling session provides an opportunity to gain an insight into African cultures and
lifestyles by studying real objects. It allows pupils to make deductions about societies,
cultures, beliefs and customs through close observation and discussion.

The session supports elements of the KS2 History, Geography, Religious Education and
Citizenship programmes and elements of the KS3 Art programme of study and to areas of

Outline of the session

The session lasts for one hour and 15 minutes. After an initial introduction, the class work in
four groups exploring the objects on each of the four tables. The groups rotate so each pupil
is able to explore all of the objects. After this initial exploration the class is led by the Museum
Teacher into a discussion about the objects and what they have been able to learn about
Africa from looking at them.

Group Organisation

Please make sure that you have organised the class and the adult helpers into four groups for
the handling session.

Aims of the Session
The session aims to support the following areas of the curriculum:

1. Develop an awareness of the diversity of ethnic groups
2. Develop respect for other cultures and lifestyles (avoiding stereotypes by emphasising
   similarities between people’s lifestyles, beliefs and customs)
3. Develop an awareness of the similarities and differences between life in Africa (or of those
   whose culture originates from Africa) and that of the UK
4. Make links with people in another country and/or culture by studying artefacts from that
   country and/or culture
5. Use primary sources to discover more about African life past and present: specifically art
   and design, religion and culture, trade and economy
6. Ask and answer questions to find out about life in Africa and African culture
7. Compare and contrast traditional and contemporary craft and manufacturing techniques
   and understand their wider implications
8. Find out about the range of materials that may be used in African everyday life
9. Study the various styles and techniques used to decorate African cloth, clothing and
   everyday objects

Art and Design Curriculum
1. Explore primary sources as a starting point for practical work
2. Investigate a variety of cultures
3. Record from first hand observation

Geography Curriculum
1. Recognise how places fit within a wider geographical context

Citizenship Curriculum
1. Think about the lives of people living in other places and with different values and customs

History Curriculum
1. Find out more about events and people from the past using a range of sources
2. Think about people living in other times and places with different values and customs

The session provides opportunities for
1.   Discussion
2.   Observation
3.   Questioning
4.   Speaking and listening
5.   Describing (speaking, writing, drawing)
6.   Deduction and/or interpretation

National Curriculum Links
KEY STAGE 2: Curriculum 2000
Evaluating processes  Recognise that the quality of a product depends
and products           on how well it was made and how well it meets its
                       intended purpose
Knowledge and         Know how the working characteristics of
understanding of       materials affect the ways they are used
materials and

Exploring and               Record from experience, select and record from
developing ideas             first hand observation, explore ideas for different
                            Collect visual and other information to help to
                             develop their ideas
Evaluating and              Compare ideas, methods and approaches in
developing work              others’ work and say what they think and feel
                             about them
Knowledge and               Explore visual and tactile elements, including
understanding                colour, pattern and texture
                            Understand use of materials and processes
                             used in art, craft and design
                            Understand the roles and purposes of artists,
                             craftspeople and designers working in different
Breadth of study            Explore a range of starting points for practical
                            Investigate art, craft and design in a variety of
                             genres, styles and traditions

Breadth of Study            Study the cultures, beliefs and achievements of
                             an African society in the past
                            Think about people living in other places and
                             times with different values and customs
Historical Enquiry          Find out about events, people and changes from
                             a range of sources and information including
                             artefacts, museum visits, pictures, photographs
                             and music
Knowledge and               Put past history into a variety of perspectives
Understanding                including political, religious, social, cultural, and
Countries and Themes        Study different parts of the world and different
                             environments including different states of
                             economic development

Preparing to play an                Reflect on spiritual, social and cultural issues,
active role as citizens              using imagination to understand other people’s
                                    Appreciate the range of national, regional,
                                     religious and ethnic identities in the United
Developing good                     Think about the lives of people living in other
relationships and                    places and with different values and customs
respecting the                      Understand that differences and similarities
differences between                  between people arise from a number of factors
people                               including cultural, ethnic, racial and religious

Developing an                         Investigate how places and people are linked
awareness of the wider                Focus on questions such as, where is it? What
world                                  is it like?
Values and attitudes                  Work with, listen and respect others
                                      Evaluate evidence
Develop previous                      Focus on the diversity of human life and
experiences                            natural resources
                                      Recognise similarities and differences

Key Stage 3: Curriculum2000
ART: Exploring, Investigating and Evaluating
Exploring                    Develop their creativity through visual, tactile
                               and sensory experience
                             Explore ideas and meaning in the work of
                               artists in different times and cultures
                             Develop use of language to communicate their
Investigating                Understand continuity and change in the
                               purpose and audience of artists, craftspeople
                               and designers from the wider world
                             Discuss and question critically a range of
                               visual and other information
                             Record and analyse first hand observations
Evaluating                   Analyse and evaluate others’ work and
                               express opinions
                             Develop use of critical skills
                             Understand use of materials to meet a
Breadth of study: a          A study of the key features – explore the
world history study            cultures of Africa

Brighton & Hove Museums
Guidelines and Risk Assessment for Schools
Brighton Museum & Art Gallery

   Please ensure that students have pens or pencils and clipboards if necessary.
   The students should wear suitable footwear.
   Please ensure that you have enough adults to provide adequate supervision for your group.
     Minimum staff ratio is 1:10 KS1+2, 1:15 KS3.
   All group leaders and accompanying adults must have a copy of the confirmation letter and a
     group leader’s sheet that lists the itinerary for the day.
    Groups must arrive at least five minutes before their first activity is due to start. The teacher in
     charge should escort the group into the main entrance of the museum and report to the
     information desk. It is essential that you tell us how many students and adults are in your
   School parties must remember that the museum is open to members of the public as well.
     Please supervise your group so they do not block walkways or displays. It would be very
     helpful if groups are staggered to visit different galleries. Worksheets can be distributed before
     entering the exhibition. A range of worksheets can be downloaded from the museum’s website
   The temporary exhibitions on the first floor change every 3-4 months. There will be warning
     signs on the door if the content of the exhibition is unsuitable for particular age groups or
     contains sensitive material. Please take note of this before allowing students in.
   Photography is allowed throughout the museum. Occasionally photography will not be allowed
     in the temporary exhibition galleries and there will be a sign on the door to indicate this. W hen
     taking photographs please be aware of other visitors around you and ensure you do not block
     gangways or disturb others.
   If you have pre-booked a teaching session with a museum teacher please report to the
     information desk where your teacher will meet you and escort you to the education rooms.

   All areas of Brighton Museum & Art Gallery are accessible for wheelchair users and people
     with limited mobility. Please inform Museum Learning of any access or special needs
     requirements when booking your visit.
   Sessions can be adapted to suit individual groups. Please discuss any specific requirements
     with Museum Learning when booking your visit.
   Students must be accompanied by a teacher or adult at all times.
      The lifts are primarily intended for elderly and disabled visitors. Please tell your group this
       before the visit. The lift is situated in the World Art gallery on the ground floor and the Fine Art
       gallery on the first floor.
    There are toilets on the ground floor and in the basement by the education rooms. There are
      disabled toilets on the ground floor by the education rooms and also on the first floor by
      Brighton History Centre.

   School groups can picnic in the Pavilion Gardens in good weather.
   The Picnic Room is heavily booked so schools must adhere strictly to their allotted time.
     Please show your confirmation letter to the Information Desk and they will escort you to the
     Picnic Room. If you are paying on arrival please pay at the Museum Shop. Please ensure that
     your group places all litter in the bins provided.

   Teachers are responsible for the behavior of their groups throughout the visit. Please ensure
     that your party is divided into small groups and that a member of staff or responsible adult is in
     charge of and in sight of each group. Other visitors must not be disturbed by inconsiderate
   No food or drink, including sweets, may be consumed anywhere in the museum, except the
     Picnic Room and the Café.
   It is not permitted to touch any of the exhibits on display. This is for their long-term preservation
     and for safety reasons.
   We regret that failure to abide by these rules may result in the group being asked to leave the
     building and future visits by the school being stopped.

    Please ensure that you have a structured day and that your students and all accompanying
     adults know what the itinerary is. If you have any queries regarding exhibitions or activities
     please let us know well in advance of your visit if possible. It is very helpful if you contact us
     before your visit so we can monitor how many people are in the museum and advise you on
     the best time to visit.
    Please ensure that your students have been given something to do and know why they have
     come to the museum. Occasionally students are left to wander with nothing to do, which has
     potential for negative behaviour and can lead to increased safety risk and disturbance to
    Care and consideration must be given to all other users of the museum.

   The museum has staff fully trained in first aid should you need assistance. In this event please
     alert your museum teacher if you have one or an Information & Security Officer.
   It is essential that groups adhere to our rules and regulations regarding running in the galleries,
     down the stairs etc. This helps to prevent accidents and ensures that all visitors to the museum
     have a safe visit.
   The museum has full evacuation procedures in case of emergency or fire. All fire exits are
     clearly marked and all staff have received training in evacuation procedures. Please ensure
     that your group understands the importance of following such procedures in the event of an
   The museum has £25 million Public Liability Insurance cover.

    Brighton Museum & Art Gallery can be reached by the following buses
            1. 1A. 2. 2A. 5. 5A. 5B. 7. 12. 12A. 13. 14
            14B. 14C. 17. 20. 21B. 22. 24. 25. 25A
            26. 27. 27A. 28. 28B. 29. 37. 38A. 40. 46
            46A. 47. 49. 49A. 50. 50A. 52. 55. 56. 57
            59. 77. 81. 81A. 81B. 81C. 87. 273. 700
    Coach drop off point is in Church Street BN1 1UD
    Minibus and car parking is available for disabled group visitors but must be booked in advance.
     Please tell us the registration number of the vehicle when you make your booking.

Brighton Museum & Art Gallery
Generic Hazard Sheet – Organised visits

This sheet will enable schools or groups to use this information for the development of visit
risk assessments as required by statutory regulations on Health & safety.

The following hazards have been identified as being inherent to visits to and use of Brighton
Museum & Art Gallery and its facilities. These hazards are themselves subject to individual
risk assessment by this organisation. This list may not include all hazards that may be present
and the Council does not accept liability for omissions to this list.

Control measures indicated are for guidance only and the group must satisfy itself as to their

         Hazard                           Recommended Control
Fire                         Evacuate immediately on alarm or if asked by
                             Museum staff. Follow all evacuation instructions
Collision with objects on    No running. Follow instructions on behaviour from
display                      staff
Reckless behaviour –         Verbal instruction and adult supervision
injury to self and others
Trips, slips, falls          No running. Beware of changing light levels &
                             changing floor levels. Beware of group members
                             and group leaders looking at displays and not at
                             floor. Verbal instruction on hazards.
           Doors             Beware of trapped fingers, automatic doors and
                             collision with glass doors.
     Passenger Lifts         Supervision required
Handling objects –           Follow instructions on behaviour. Do not place
physical injury or toxic     objects or hands in mouth or eyes. Wash hands
reaction                     afterwards.
Arts and Crafts activities   Use only equipment provided or recommended.
–                            Follow instructions.
Cutting & Fastening,         Adult supervision.
choking, Paint & glue
Lunch Room                   Adult supervision required

Feb 2009

     Group Leader’s Sheet
     Group Leader

          Group Members

    Schedule for the day

   The group should collect information about

   They should use the following galleries/displays

   They need to

Please encourage pupils to ask questions and talk about the things they find. Ask them lots of questions
to encourage them to look at the display closely. Can they find out more from the labels or objects around
Pre Visit Activities

Looking at objects
   Ask the children to bring in anything they have from Africa eg musical instruments,
    wooden animals, clothing, pictures
   Encourage children to find out about materials, how an object was made, colours, feel etc
   Ask them to think about who could have used the objects, why and where it would be used

Example questions for developing investigative skills
   What shape is it?
   What is the object made from?
   What does it feel like?
   What does it smell like?
   Who used it?
   Where and why would it be used?

Making comparisons: What do we know about Africa?
   Where is Africa?
   What is the weather/climate like in Africa?
   What languages are spoken?
   What religions are followed?
   What do we know about African culture (music, film, food, sport, economy, tourism)?
   It what ways is Africa similar to this country? In what ways is it different?

Other ideas
   Collect similar objects from our and other cultures. Ask the children to categorise them and
    explain the similarities and differences
   Draw an object from a description: children work in pairs. Did they draw the right thing?
    Pairs swap roles
   Create a ‘feely box’ to describe how the object feels and what it might look like

Post Visit Activities

       The children may like to write their own story based around the stories connected with
        the Asante weights, what animal would they like to have? What would it be worth?
        Look at Why the Hyena does not care for Fish and other tales from the Asante Gold Weights
        by Peggy Appiah
       The children may like to design their own square of Kente cloth (visit online All the squares could be joined together in a
        class blanket for display

Africa: Key Facts
     Africa is the second largest and second most populated continent in the
      world, after Asia
     Africa covers 6% of the world’s surface area
     53 countries make up the continent. The largest is Sudan, the smallest is
     climate ranges from tropical to subarctic on the mountain peaks
     northern half is primarily desert whilst central and southern regions
      contain rainforest and dense jungle and savannah plains(as in Disney’s
      The Lion King)
     Africa boasts the world’s largest variety of wild animals (lion, hyenas,
      cheetahs, buffalo, deer, giraffes, camels) and aquatic life (crocodiles)

     generally considered by scientists that the origin of human beings came
      from Africa with the discovery of some of the oldest skeletons
     14% of the world’s population live on the continent
     rapid increase in the population in the last 40 years has meant that the
      population is relatively young (in some African states half the population
      is under 25). This is in direct contrast to UK where we have a large and
      growing elderly population.

     relatively undiscovered by the western world until mid 19th century when
      Europeans explored the area to exploit its resources
     colonialism destabilised the country creating a number of separate
      groups which are today among the countries involved in division and war
     the Transatlantic Slave Trade was the trade of enslaved Africans by
      Europeans in 15th-19th centuries. Most enslaved Africans were taken
      from central and western Africa and taken to the Americas. Enslaved
      Africans were obtained through trading, kidnap, and raids. It is unclear
      how many Africans were forced into slave labour as many did not survive
      the journey and there are no records, but the generally accepted figure is
      approximately 12-20 million people.

     over 2,000 languages are used throughout Africa
     the population of Africa is diverse with most areas speaking their own
      language, such as Swahili, Shabo or Siwi. However, with European and
      Arabic influence, it is common to hear English, Arabic, French and
      Portuguese. Most official work is carried out in French or English,
      reminding us of the colonial history.
% of Africans practising different religions in Africa:
    46% Christian
    40% Muslim
    11% follow indigenous African religions. They tend to revolve around
      animism and ancestor worship with ’helpful’ and ’harmful’ spirits that
      protect and heal, as well as harm and curse.
    a small number are Hindu or Bahia or have beliefs from the Judaic
    Africa has many myths and legends which we use in western society
      today eg Anansi. Anansi is one of the most important characters in West
       African lore, a cultural hero who acts on behalf of his father, the sky god. The
       legend originates in the Asante tribe and is told throughout the world today. It is
       often used in school assemblies.

 Africa has a great interest in football with many teams reaching the final
  rounds of the World Cup
 a number of African nations have fielded world class long distance runners,
  notably Kenya and Ethiopia
 cricket and rugby are also popular in South Africa
Music and Dance
 The music and dance of Africa is one of its most dynamic art forms. Modern
  music is full of traditional influences including choral (gospel) singing. The
  rhythms of jazz; blues, reggae and rap are all founded in African rhythm.
  African dance is an important mode of communication and dancers use
  masks and costumes as well as body painting to communicate. The
  influence of African dance can be seen in western culture especially in

   African economy is dependent on the peoples of Africa, the resources and
    their trade with the rest of the world. Fair trade initiatives have been set up
    and are gradually improving the conditions of various groups in society
    although this is very slow and not widespread.
   Africa is the world’s poorest continent and it is becoming poorer by the
    decade. This poverty has widespread effects including low life expectancy,
    violence and political instability. Quality of life does not correspond to the
    continent’s natural resources. Apart from a wealthy elite, most Africans have
    no money for luxuries and there is a huge divide between rich and poor
    which affects all areas of life, including health and education.
   the main industries in Africa are agriculture, mining, manufacturing and
   foreign aid, although more available in recent years, has often been thought
    to have been misused by corrupt governments and made little difference to
    the masses

Asante Gold Weights

   Box with lid
   Spoon

The great kingdom of Asante came into being during the 18th century and
covered most of what is now central and southern Ghana in West Africa; a
region which became rich from the trade of gold. This richly fertile area, parts of
which contained large gold deposits, aided the development of a sophisticated
and highly-structured society. Gold played a major role in socio-economic life;
the search for it and the desire to control its production was one of the main
stimulants to state formation in the region. By the beginning of the 18 th century
gold dust was the sole currency. The economic vitality of Asante for most of
existence with expanding production for sale rather than use within the
producing group required gold weights.

The weights were made from brass and they were used by the Asante people to
measure gold. The Asante used gold dust as a medium of exchange and they
determined the value of different quantities of gold dust by using a system of
weights and scales. The first gold weights took various geometric forms but, by
the 17th century, they had been extended to include representations of human
figures, animals, plants and seeds, and man-made artefacts. Virtually all
weights were cast by the cire perdu (lost wax) process. In creating such a small
object as a gold weight, a clay core was seldom necessary; the beeswax model
of the weight was simply encased thickly in its porous clay cocoon and baked,
the wax ‘lost’, and replaced by molten brass. Alternatively the casting could be
made direct from nature, replacing the usual wax model with a beetle, flower, or
seed pod, for example. The lost wax process was ideal for producing small,
delicate castings as the malleability of wax encouraged crafts men to produce
many different forms. The availability of wax and imported brass encouraged
production and diversity in design. In Asante society gold dust was used in the
humblest of petty trading to major national enterprises and, until they fell out of
use at the end of the 19th century, every person engaged in trade would have
carried or had access to a set of weights. The weights played an important role
as objects for display and ostentation. The number of weights owned would
relate to a person’s position and prosperity. Many of the weights were designed
to call to mind a particular proverb or saying. The many weights depicting
antelope with excessively long horns, for example (as in this collection),
represent the saying ‘had I known’ - regrets after an event (in this case growing
very long horns) are in vain.

The weights (abrammuo - one weight, mrammo – a set), were only one part of a
gold-weighing ‘kit’ which would have also included bean scales (nsania), sheet
brass spoons (saawa) to place the gold in the pan of the scale, scoops (famfa)
to remove impurities in the gold by blowing across it, and small brass boxes
(adka herewa abampuruwa) in which to store the gold dust. The equipment was
usually kept in a pack called a fotoo, carefully bundled together in a piece of
cloth which was in turn wrapped in a skin. The fotoo would be placed on the
ground and opened when trading reached the stage at which the gold would be
measured. Measuring would be done over the skin in case of spillage.

Two sets of boxes were used for gold dust storage. Some were made from
sheet brass, joined by riveting and by folded joints, and some were made by the
lost wax method. Many of the cast brass boxes had lids with shallow walls on
their undersides which fitted into the sides of the base. Absolute tightness was
not necessary as the gold dust was first put into little twists of cloth, which were
tied at the neck. The boxes were sometimes made to a specific weight standard
and could thus themselves be used as gold weights.

Brass spoons were used to place the gold in the pan of the scale thereby
preventing it from sticking to the fingers (some traders are said to have picked
up small grains under their fingernails in order to steal them). The majority of
spoons were made from imported sheet brass; the bowl formed by beating and
the stems or handles frequently decorated with cut-out, incised and punched

Adrinka cloth
Adrinka cloth is a hand-printed fabric made in Ghana. Developed by the Asante
people, Adrinka cloths were traditionally made for royalty to wear at religious
ceremonies. Through the years, people have also decorated cloths to tell a
story or express their thoughts and feelings.
Adrinka cloth is stamped and patterned with traditional Asante symbols. Each
symbol has its own meaning. People in Ghana decorate the cloth by using black
dye made of bark. This dye is called Adinkera aduru, and it is what gives the
cloth its name. Using the dye they draw lines on the cloth to divide it into
squares, next they carve symbols into calabash gourds, press the gourds into
the dye and stamp the symbols into the fabric.

Kente cloth
Cloth woven from narrow strips is sewn together to form a lively pattern. All
blocks must be the same size so that they line up. Designs come from a wide
range of traditional ideas and are not invented. The weaver knows the patterns
by heart. The cloth has its traditions in the 11th century and, as the Asante
became wealthy traders and brought in silks etc, the cloth developed into
splendid fabrics for the royal court and tribal chiefs. Even now when purchasing
Kente cloth the customer will consider the weaver’s meanings. Kente is a
symbol of pride and unity and is often handed down through generations and
cloth is worn by African families who have settled in the west. Today the
complicated patterns are woven on machine, taking far less time, and are often
sold as tourist items.

                                                     To find out more please visit
                                    or contact Museum
                                                             03000 290903

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