Students at work

We believe in the power of archives

We are experts in the teaching of history through original sources.

We believe that school students should be given the same access to original documents as professional historians. This deepens their understanding of how knowledge about past events is constructed. It shows them how historians 'make' history and it empowers them to undertake their own research, question received opinion and learn how to distinguish between conflicting interpretations in a 21st century media society.

It is also exciting, inspiring and fun.

Our team of Education Officers aim to deliver outstanding taught sessions, both on site at Kew and online with the help of the latest digital technologies. We also deliver a professional development programme to help teachers integrate some of our work into their practice.

Our online resources aim to cover the widest range of the curriculum we can manage. We want to use the web to put original documents in the hands of teachers and suggest approaches for how they might use them.

We believe in the importance of referencing. If it is not clear where a document comes from, a student (or a historian) cannot evaluate it effectively. The decontextualised fragments that pass for sources in some textbooks do not serve students well.

We want to make it as easy as possible for busy primary and secondary colleagues to introduce their students to original documents. However we deliberately do not provide 'the answers' to the questions we ask on the site. Our aim is instead to help students develop a greater understanding of the concept of evidence and the limits of knowledge.