The Novium Museum

On our final day in Selsey I decided to take Jenson and Wren to The Novium Museum in Chichester. There is a Tim Peake exhibition running at the moment and I thought Jenson would like it. 

And he loved it, despite this photo of him at the end where he was so grumpy that even complete strangers couldn't help but laugh!! Tim's epic voyage was totally unappreciated by young Jenson!

Before that though and much to my surprise, we spent a great deal of time enjoying the Roman exhibition. Jenson was enthusiastic and engaged with many of the interesting artefacts and archaeological remains displayed. He had a few favourites. This bath house with hypocaust system was just one of them. 

Being a rainy Monday during school time we had the entire exhibition to ourselves. There was a guide on hand who took great pleasure in helping Jenson understand how the bath house might have originally looked and what the Roman's might have used it for. He learnt that they weren't that dissimilar to ourselves in terms of their social activities.

Jenson's most favourite part of the exhibition by far was the interactive display of the Bosham Head. Again, the guide was on hand to show Jenson how to use the virtual paint brush that enabled him to colour in its different features. Jenson spent a great deal of time experimenting with all the different colour ranges. It really was fantastic to see. I say this so many times but one of the best things about home schooling is being able to enjoy these educational facilities to the full without having to fight other children, (or indeed his own classmates) for it. You wouldn't need to have many children there for this activity to become very busy very quickly, resulting in frustration, disappointment and probably a few punches. As it was, Jenson was able to enjoy the display for as long as he liked.  He eventually lost interest in it by himself rather than being forced off it by another child or helicopter parent. 

The Bosham Head remains a mystery. It once stood in the vicarage garden at Bosham. It was later moved to the grounds of the Bishop's Palace at Chichester, where one of the clergymen suggested that it might have been a head of the Roman emperor, Vespasian. It is made from marble and has been badly damaged by burial and a considerable amount of time subject to the elements. The main features have all but been obliterated but this is why it captured Jenson's imagination so much as he thought it looked like a ghost head!

A school trip had been through that morning and there were still a few used work sheets lying around that Wren was scribbling all over. The children had left to go back to school so the sheets were going to end up in the bin. I grabbed one and rubbed out the areas that had been filled in and gave it to Jenson to fill out for himself. Amazingly he did and took great care and time to answer the questions in the boxes where directed. 

Jenson also had lots of fun trying on this old Roman helmet. It was deceptively heavy and it took Grandad to point out that I had put it on him back to front! The picture below shows the correct way to wear it!

We eventually took the rocket, (lift decorated in fabulous space ship graphics) to the first floor where the Tim Peake exhibition was. Again, we had the space to ourselves. Jenson could enjoy playing with the toys and dressing up in the space suit without competition from other children, which always makes any trip like this feel hurried and a little stressful. Wren nabbed the smaller of the two astronaut outfits so there was quite a bit of growing room in Jenson's!

I must admit to knowing very little about Tim Peake and the Principia mission before today's visit. We have gone away from it though feeling totally impressed and very humbled by what this man has achieved. Jenson wasn't aware of this side of it at all but I hope this hands on experience has made the whole space thing come alive a little bit more for him.

There was one great interactive display that Jenson particularly enjoyed. It involved trying to build a Duplo model whilst wearing astronaut gloves. It was a great way to help kids understand the difficulties astronauts face when trying to  perform tasks. 

There were lots of interactive toys for Jenson to enjoy as well as more traditional wooden ones too. The combination worked well. There was also the opportunity to complete a word search, which Jenson did with my help. Wren found great amusement with a few little wooden blocks she had found kicked under a table.  

Finally there was just enough time to wave goodbye to Grandad as he shot off in the rocket before we all caught the bus back home!!