2 June 2015

The boys in 8S enjoyed a full and stimulating day’s educational tour of Oxford.

Each boy was designated a site at which they had to tell the rest of the group important facts about its history and significance. The first site was Magdalen College and the tour proceeded via the Botanic Gardens through to the Museums and on to Radcliffe Square via St. Giles and Broad Street. The final sites took in Christ Church College and Meadow.

At the Museum of Natural History the boys participated in an excellent handling session with Sarah, one of the University of Oxford’s curators and education officers. Highlights included handling 200 million year old dinosaur poo and living African hissing cockroaches. The boys then completed a search challenge before hearing about the significance of the evolutionary debates which took place at the museum in the 19th Century.

At the Pitt Rivers Museum Steve, an ex-Abingdon pupil, provided the boys with an opportunity of engaging with anthropology, specifically material anthropology. They discovered fascinating links between artefacts, such as North American Indian paddles and shakers and West African leopard teeth bangles, and the culture and environment which they originated from. This session, along with an impromptu encounter later with some St.John’s College students who had just finished their final tripos exams, gave them an insight into the world of education and study which lies beyond their secondary schooling.

Another highlight was the ascent of the clock tower of St. Mary the Virgin Church, at which point the clouds providentially opened… to reveal glorious sunshine and views, rather than the downpours which had greeted us earlier. The rather wonderful ice creams at George and Danvers proved a fitting finale to a successful tour. The boys conducted themselves well, and, with their uniforms, proved a subject of interest for visiting tourist groups in their own right. The boys passed on their thanks to Claire and Stefan for organising the trip.

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