7 July 2008 / Trevithick's Achievement Brought To Life For Schools
The two-hour session begins with the introduction of one of the museum's learning assistants in the role of Jane Trevithick the inventor's wife, complete with period dress. Using photographs authentic artefacts from the time and copies of letters sent to Jane by Richard, the children learn not just of Trevithick's life but also of his inventions and the history of Cornish mining.
During a brief tour of the museum the children discuss what Trevithick invented and other land mark inventions of Cornishmen, looking at relevant exhibits, before visiting the rock and mineral collection in the Rashleigh Gallery.
The final part of their learning experience is good old-fashioned model -making as the children are talked through the principles of creating their own 'Pen Y Darren' - the world's first steam-powered railway engine built by Trevithick in1804.
Last week it was the turn of Truro High School's Prep 3 to enjoy the Trevithick experience as part of the Cornish Studies section of their curriculum.
They listened intently as 'Mrs Trevithick' discussed the story of her married life and were keen to give their theories about what unusual artefacts were and how they were used. The girls were amazed to hear that Trevithick had left his wife to bring up six children alone for 12 years whilst he worked in Peru and Costa Rica and that he had remained poor and unrecognised for his genius until after his death.
"It's an excellent field trip!" explained the girls' teacher, Liz Symons. "We bring Prep 3 every year and they always learn a great deal."
She said that the children, inspired by their experience, will be creating mini fact files detailing what they have learned about Trevithick, Cornish mining and invention.