Pupils Stories: A Letter to Mary

A key from the collection

A letter to Mary

The children receive imaginary letters from Mary and explore the collection during an activity that allow them to handle objects, investigate what they are and create stories around their use . All of the objects are looked at as a whole to consider why Mary collected and  what do they tell us about her and time period she lived in. The children consider collections they have or wish they could have using Mary’s love of the everyday as inspiration. The following is a letter to Mary after the experience.

Dear Mary

Thank you for inviting us to explore your collection of curiosities. Our favourite object was the beautiful wooden house. When Amanda from the art gallery placed it before us we wondered what wonderful things could be inside. Maybe there might be photographs, full of memories; crayons, so that we can create pictures; a model tent, for us to explore, or a house for the borrowers to live in. We were amazed to find a collection of tiny, fragile and delicate objects that you have passed on to us.

We wondered what the keys were for,
Could they open a castle door?
Maybe even a jewellery box,
What about this one, it has two locks?
I think it opens the garden shed
Or maybe a magic cupboard instead.
Could it be the key to a secret land?
It’s heavy and rusty in my hand.
You can fit it neatly in your pocket
But we like the one with the pattern on it,
We think it could open a treasure chest
The decorative key is the one we like best!

We were surprised that you let us handle the objects but we were extremely careful, particularly with the embroidery. We want the whole world to see it because it’s lovely and detailed and will help people to learn the ABC. It’s probably a good idea to display it on a fireplace or a bedside table next to the candle holder. Did you ever think of putting essence in the candle holder to make it smell nice?

The objects you collected must be very special to you. We liked the chair that the Queen was crowned on; it should be kept safe in a locked doll’s house on a high shelf with the one eared rabbit and the sheep. Poor rabbit, he must have lost his ear because he’s so old. Isn’t it a shame the sheep has fleas?

You will be pleased to know that we have done some collecting of our own. Perhaps one day the pebbles that some of the people in our class have collected from the beach and the park, as well as the statues that decorate our windowsills at home, will also be displayed at the gallery.

Thank you Mary, we had a fantastic day!

 The abstract is an imaginative letter that documents observations made by education volunteer Hannah Cook, when she visited Crosslee Community Primary school , Blackley to work with Year 5 pupils, Amanda McCrann, Gallery Educator and Mary Greg’s collection of curiosities.

Mary Greg workshop

Child in workshop
Find out more about our Mary Greg workshop