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National Archives educational Web site explores British Empire
National Archives educational Web site explores British Empirehttp://learningcurve.pro.gov.uk
A new free Empire Exhibition was launched by The National Archives” award winning Learning Curve Web site at the BETT show in Olympia, 7-10 January 2004. It provides history teachers and pupils with a wide range of original source material on an empire which covered more than a quarter of the globe, affected the lives of hundreds of millions and lasted over 400 years.
Documents available on the site include:
a British memo on Ghandi’s actions;
extracts from Captain Cook’s log book; and
a film of Dublin after the Easter Rising.
The exhibition provides lesson-sized activities, interactive investigations and worksheets. The Learning Curve is an online teaching resource and is a registered provider for the UK’s Curriculum Online. It allows students to make their own minds up about the period by looking at the evidence from people in their own words.
A report from a British official on meetings with Native Americans shows how colonization affected them: “A little while ago we owned all the land, now my people have very little, and we are surrounded by the whites, and they are continually driving off our cattle and horses”.
Lord Curzon, British Viceroy of India, 1895-1905, gives his opinion on the Empire: “There has never been anything so great in the world’s history as the British Empire, so great an instrument for the good of humanity”.
The exhibition is divided into three galleries based on different themes: The rise of the British Empire, Living in the British Empire and The End of the British Empire.
Tom O’Leary, Head of the Education Department at The National Archives, says: “The Empire is a sensitive subject that encompasses so much of British history. This exhibition takes original historical documents into the classroom and allows students to look at the empire through the eyes of the people who were actually there”.