Hampshire Cultural Trust

A Glimpse at the Past session plan

The session is linked to Unit 18 of the QCA Scheme of Work for History at KS2, “What was it like to live here in the past?”


  • During the session you will need to divide into 4 groups and these will rotate around the activities.
  • When doing group work the Interpreter-Demonstrator will oversee the session but adult helpers will lead each individual group.
  • It is useful for the Interpreter-Demonstrator if your pupils are wearing name stickers.

Session objectives

To explore what life was like in the past in Aldershot, Farnborough and Cove by:

  • Examining the characteristic features of objects that might have been used by people in the area in the past, using real museum collections.
  • Using original 19th century and modern maps to explore how Aldershot has changed over time.
  • Discovering what photographs and pictures reveal about how life has changed in the local area.
  • Using historical documents to find out about the lives of some of the people who lived in the local area.



  • Welcome to Aldershot Military Museum and the session.
  • Explanation of the objective - to find out what life was like in Aldershot, Farnborough and Cove in the past.
  • Run through of health and safety, facilities and the handling rules for our collectio



Pupils will then divide into their four groups and rotate around the following activities.

  1. Mapping the Changes
    Looking at a 19th Century and modern map, pupils consider the changes that have taken place over a period of time in Aldershot. They will place a range of icons on the maps to identify how and where the town has grown, what has stayed the same and what has changed.
  2. Picture the Past
    The pupils are given photographs taken in the local area (both modern and historical), and are asked to sort them into themes: The Army, Streets and Shopping, Transport, Childhood, Leisure

    The children will consider how useful photographs might be as evidence, providing clues for understanding life in the past.

    The group will then work in pairs to look at one of four photographs, answer questions and then discuss what they think their photograph reveals about past life in the area.
  3. Right up our Street
    Pupils will use investigative skills to find out about the lives of people in Wellington Street in 1861 and 1881.They will use written census reports to identify where and when particular people lived in the street and discover facts about their lives.
  4. Whose am I?
    Pupils will have the opportunity to observe, handle and identify real objects from the past. They will then be given 6 information cards about different people and must then try to match an object with a person.


The class will come back together with the Interpreter-Demonstrator for a plenary. They will discuss what they have found out, what they found most interesting and how they think Aldershot has changed over the years.

Optional Activity

Guess Who Guess What
The pupils will be given a list of objects that can be found in the Local History Gallery and a list of people with a brief description of their occupation. They must match the object with the person.


You will shortly be visiting Aldershot Military Museum for two hours to support the delivery of a session called A Glimpse at the Past. This session has been devised and developed especially for KS2 pupils.

You will be leading a small group of pupils as they try a range of activities in the museum; an Interpreter-Demonstrator will oversee the session and support you.

On arrival the Interpreter-Demonstrator will meet you. They will give you and the group a quick tour of the museum and a brief introduction to the activities you will be involved in.

Your group of pupils will rotate around the following activities in any order. Each activity has a brief instruction sheet with it. The Interpreter-Demonstrator will be on hand to offer support.

  • Mapping the Changes
    Comparing maps of the local area in the past to see what changes have occurred.
  • Right Up My Street
    Investigating census information.
  • Picture the Past
    Sorting photographs of the area in the past into different categories.
  • Whose Am I?
    Matching objects from the past to the type of people who would have used them.

At the end of the activities pupils will be invited to come back together for a brief plenary.



How old is your school? Has it always been in the building it’s in now? Did anyone else in your family go to your school? If so, has it changed? Discuss these with your class and, if possible, have a look at old photos of your school and perhaps of pupils. Compare and contrast.

Discuss why areas change – if there are any significant building works in your local area (new shopping centre, supermarket, DIY store, cinema etc) use this as a starting point.


Thinking about the differences you found on the maps in the museum, imagine that someone from the past has come to your town now. What are the biggest differences they’ll find? And now invite them to imagine they have travelled back in time. What will they miss most? You could try this as a hot-seating activity.

What might your area be like in the future? If more people live there, what will they need and want from the area? What kinds of things will your pupils want from where they live when they are adults – some people want lots of open fields, some people want to be a few minutes’ walk from shops.


Important information

This is a 2 hour session for one class (up to 35 pupils) of KS2 children.

We request 4 adult helpers for this session.