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Pupils to get a taste of life on the home front in new arts project

School children from across Staffordshire will get the chance to learn more about life on the home front during the Great War in a new interactive exhibition.

The ‘Kitchen goes to war’ exhibition, set to tour schools and libraries this year, will explore why rationing was introduced during the First World War, how it worked and how families on the home front were encouraged to ‘do their bit’ for the war effort.

Using everyday domestic objects from Staffordshire’s museum collections along with local records from the time like rationing books and newspapers, pupils will experience and learn about what life was like in a fun hands-on way.

School children from Springhead Primary in Newcastle under Lyme are working with local artists including Sarah Richardson to help design the resource and are exploring how arts and drama can be used to enhance the story.

Gill Heath, Cabinet Member for Communities at Staffordshire County Council said:

“This is a wonderful project that will give children a real insight into life on the Homefront during the Great War and the everyday challenges that families faced.  We’re thrilled to have the support of Heritage Lottery and through the new resources, school children will get to learn about what life was like in a fun, interactive  way.”

Sarah Richardson, Artist Director who helped put the exhibition together said that

“the resource will ‘make real’ the changes that took place in people’s kitchens and diets during the time.  It will allow us to re-imagine what it would have felt like to experience these changes, in particular from the viewpoint of young people.  It is great to work with local pupils whose views and creative experiences are helping us shape the exhibition to make it relevant and appealing to as many children and families as possible.”

The project has been put together by Staffordshire County Council’s Leisure & Culture Service with a grant of £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s First World War then and now programme.

Vanessa Harbar, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund West Midlands said

“The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching and shaping every corner of the UK and beyond. Thanks to National Lottery players, HLF has already invested more than £90million to more than 1,700 projects – large and small – that are marking this global Centenary; with our small grants programme, we are enabling even more communities like those involved in ‘The Kitchen Goes to War’ to explore the continuing legacy of this conflict and help local young people in particular to broaden their understanding of how it has shaped our modern world.”

The Kitchen Goes to War project will tour primary schools during the summer before moving to Staffordshire’s libraries later in the autumn.

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