Spirit of Invention: Explore, design, create!

What can the Victorians teach us about how to be an inventor?

In this special workshop, inspired by the exciting exhibition ‘Spirit of Invention’, children will have a chance to explore pioneering Victorian designs and prototype their own inventions. In ‘Spirit of Invention’ the gallery will be transformed into a creative workshop, children will be able to channel the imagination of historic and modern-day makers as they bring their own inventions to life. The exhibition has been co-curated with children from a local school and guest curator and British entrepreneur, Ruth Amos  


What to expect in this onsite workshop:

Explore – Children will begin by exploring original Victorian designs for weird and wonderful inventions. Huge cloth-bound volumes officially registered ‘useful designs’ or inventions , they feature a ‘ventilating hat’ and a ‘moustache protector.’ (40 minutes)  

Discover – Learners discover the exhibition and gather inspiration for their own inventions. The exhibition features innovative modern-day inventions which children can try out! (25 minutes) 

Create – Children design their own invention and create a prototype of it. Their design may be featured in the exhibition showcase, some inventions will get made and put on display! (1 hour)  

*Note the running time of 2 hours 15 minutes includes a 10 minute break.  

Available to book:
Wednesday 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th June morning and afternoon at 10/10.30am and 1/1.30pm.   


Curriculum links: 

Design Technology: Design, make, evaluate  

Science: Properties and changes of materials 

History: Victorians  

Session options

This session is delivered as a:


at The National Archives

2 hours 15 minutes

Available: 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th June. Mornings at 10/10.30am and afternoons at 1/1.30pm.

Cost: Free to UK schools

Suitability: Key stage 2

Request a booking