On Wednesday 28th February, amid a flurry of ominous weather reports, 26 students on Woldingham’s Gifted and Talented programme embarked on a trip to the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Science Museum. Upon arrival, we were let us loose in the V&A to explore as many exhibits as possible, searching for inspiration for our ‘Curiosity Project’, which is similar to a mini EPQ. From Asia to Fashion, Buddhism to Ceramics, the museum had it all; faced with paintings, statues, costumes, jewellery, and pottery, we were spoiled for choice!
I was particularly drawn to the museum’s exhibits on Indian history and culture; their focus on India’s music, women, clothing and artwork could have inspired a lifetime’s research! Unfortunately, we cannot incorporate everything that we saw into our project, so throughout the day we formulated ideas that Dr Bennett then helped us to refine. Other students were inspired by mythology, orientalism, and technology’s influence on design; these varying research focuses display the enormous range of ideas the museum ignited within such a small group of people. After lunch in the William Morris-inspired V&A café, where we discussed our ideas with one another, we trekked across the increasingly snowy road to the Science Museum.
There, we watched an IMAX entitled ‘Hidden Universe’, which was about the discovery of other galaxies. They focused on a telescope known as the VLT, or ‘Very Large Telescope’ (they admitted themselves it is not the most imaginative name), and it was incredible to see these mountain-situated telescopes in action. These telescopes had to be controlled with the utmost precision or the night’s work would not be accurate. We learned how astronomers are piecing together images of the universe from its very inception (the Big Bang). At the end, the film revealed a panoramic view of hundreds of different galaxies they have photographed in space as they exist alongside each other, which was breathtaking. Alongside giving an accurate portrayal of scientific inquiry at the highest of levels, the film reminded G&T students to follow our dreams, even if it means travelling halfway across the world to sleep in a simulated biosphere! It also put into perspective our historical research from the V&A: while suggesting future research, the IMAX also gave insight into our universe from hundreds of millions of years ago.
I think I can speak for everyone by saying that the trip was immensely inspiring, and fed our hungry brains with many ideas for our ‘Curiosity Project’. Thank you to Dr Bennett, Mr Oulton and Miss Sacristan, for making the trip so enjoyable in the midst of the cold weather!
Sophie, Year 9