Sea Tales from Berwick Museum


narwhal tusk and carpenter sharks rostrum

A few years ago I was looking around the store room of Berwick Museum, when I cam across an object that really sparked my imagination. It was a Narwhal tusk. Sea Tales is the project that was inspired by that amazing object.

In this project we hoped to encourage school children and their families to make up their own tales of the Sea.

We worked with five schools in and around Berwick. Some schools came to the museum and we went to others. We showed them objects from the museum, shells, carvings of mermaids and ship wrecks, shagreen boxes, model boats, engraved shells, and of course of the Narwhal tusk. We told a  story  about local hero Grace Darling and Jane Miller, Education Officer at Berwick Museum made up an incredible adventure story  based on a newspaper clipping from 1775 about a shark getting tangled in salmon nets on the Tweed. We hoped that all of these things would inspire the children to make up their own stories and set them away with a storyboard sheet. We also had some storytelling tokens to help out when if they had writers block. When the children had completed their stories we recorded as many children as possible telling them. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to record everyone’s story and some of the stories we recorded were lost due to a fault on the reorder. I hope you enjoy listening to these stories. They are amazing stories of pirates, sharks, mermaids, narwhals, dogs and treasure!

Duns Primary School

Holy Trinity Year 2

Holy Trinity Year 3

St Mary’s First School.

Tweedmouth West Year 3

Tweedmouth West Year 4

We also held a family day at the museum and invited the Dove Marine Laboratory to bring along some of their sea creature friends. We met Larry the lobster, edible crabs, shore crabs, sea anemones and some starfish. They were a great hit with the families who came along. We encouraged the families to make up their own stories too. Quite a few of the faces were familiar as the children we met at the schools brought their families along to make up more stories.storytelling tokens sea tales

We also asked some fishermen from Seahouses for their stories of their life at sea. Here is my favourite story of the things you can meet out at sea off the coast of Northumberland. Tale from Seahouses

A literacy loans box based on this project will soon be available. It will contain the stories we used during this project , the storyboard sheets, the story tokens, puppets, shells, and other items to encourage storytelling. Please email for more details.

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