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The core Museum collections are complemented by a separate Education Handling Collection containing over 3,700 objects. It is an excellent resource providing unique opportunities to touch and study closely a wide selection of objects and specimens similar to those in the galleries.

Amongst many other items the Handling Collection contains musical instruments, masks, puppets, and clothing from all over the world. There are examples from the past, and from the present, making it relevant to people of all ages who can connect the objects with experiences in their own lives. Being able to touch, play and closely observe these objects engages many of our senses and is shown to remain in all our minds much longer than other methods of learning.

The Handling Collection objects have been acquired to mirror the Museum's accessioned collections, by education staff and curators. Their expertise helps to develop this important resource for future generations. Excepting some items of clothing, no reproductions have been used, so that the visitor is able to handle 'real' objects.

The Handling Collection is housed in the Hands on Base and can be accessed by visitors and groups in timed and ticketed sessions. To find out more about these sessions, visit our events pages.