Archive experiences

Each summer, The National Archives’ on site education team at Kew, London, offer young people in schools and colleges the chance to take part in a unique project that explores some of the hidden stories in our documents. Students carry out research, with support from our education team and record experts and work creatively with artists, writers or film makers as well as other students.

It’s a great opportunity to work with original sources; it’s also a chance to learn new skills, increase your subject knowledge in history and find out more about the role of The National Archives and the records we hold. The topics and the project outcomes are wide ranging, they have included film making, script writing, story boarding, painting and drawing so far.

Places are free, but are usually limited to a set number and involve an application process. Watch this space to see what is coming up and find out about past projects.

Students involved in one of our projects

Capturing our Collections: The National Archives Education Service Art Competition Explore the themes of equity, freedom and belonging within our collection and create your own artwork inspired by our documents.

This year’s project will explore ‘Rebels in the records’ – stories of people/groups who have stood up for what they believe in, campaigned for change or lived in a way that was different to their contemporary society.

Are you intrigued by stories that explore identity, journeys and racial discrimination?  Do you think you can express yourself through drawing with the help of a top artist?  Would you like your artwork published in a professional digital graphic novel?  If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then take part in ‘Seafarer’s Stories’ with The National Archives.

During spring term 2021, two students from Central School of Speech and Drama completed a playwriting residency at The National Archives.

In 2020, we took the filmmaking online, challenging students to contribute from home!

To celebrate the release of a new themed collection we challenged students to write a short story of no more than 450 words inspired by these documents.

Our film project ‘Mental Health on Record’ ran from Monday 29th July to Friday 2nd August 2019 with a group of enthusiastic young people (aged 16-19 years).

During the autumn term 2018, Graphic Design students from the University of Worcester took part in an exciting project with The National Archives.

We ran our exciting film project, 'Holding History', from Monday 30 July to Friday 3 August 2018, with a group of enthusiastic young people (aged 16-19 years).

Our creative writing project ‘Writing War, Writing Peace’ ran from Monday 23 July to Friday 27 July 2018.

From Monday 13 to Friday 18 August 2018, The National Archives held a free five-day event for A level and pre-university students: an arts project which involved interpreting original sources from our collections using graphic art techniques.

2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.

From 31 July to 4 August 2017, The National Archives ran an exciting new film project for 16-19 year olds with film-maker Nigel Kellaway.

In 2016, a group of students aged 16 to 19 joined us to create a stop-motion animation film telling the stories of those who experienced the Battle of the Somme.