Focus on: Captain Cook Memorial Museum

Date Posted: 31/01/2015

We found out what pupils in Key Stages 2 to 4 can explore at the Captain Cook Memorial Museum in Whitby.

Explorer, navigator and cartographer, Captain James Cook achieved the first recorded European contact with the eastern coastline of Australia and the Hawaiian Islands, and the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand.

The Captain Cook Memorial Museum is based in Walker’s House which belonged to Captain John Walker to whom the great explorer, Captain Cook was apprenticed in 1746, and to which Cook returned in the winter of 1771/2 after his first voyage.

The museum exists to celebrate Whitby’s links with Captain Cook and to teach people about the significance of his life, the achievements of his voyages and of those who sailed with him. 

Discover History 

A typical visit starts with an introductory session covering Cook's Yorkshire background, his naval career, the great voyages of exploration, and his ideas on topics such as diet, scurvy, and encounters with previously unknown peoples.

The group then tours the museum in smaller parties looking at the exhibits which illustrate Cook’s story.  A handling collection, ‘The Treasure Chest’ is also available.

Visits cover many aspects linked to the Curriculum, but they can be tailored to the school’s particular needs, for example, Art, History, Geography or Science.

Education materials

Prior to the visit, schools can purchase the Discovery Pack, which is an education resource tool with relevant and fascinating information for KS1 and 2 with loads of ideas for activities.  

The pack has been designed to help school parties get the best educational experience of the museum.

Each section of the pack relates to a different room of the museum. In each room, the pack will present a different key topic to think about, as well as introducing some of the characters who have contributed to Cook’s story and highlighting some of the most important objects displayed in that room.   

There will also be various questions and activates to provoke discussion during the visit and post visit classroom work. Each topic is printed on separate pages, allowing for copying.

New Learning Centre in 2015

The museum has just acquired an additional space for conversion into a new Learning Centre. This will include improved facilities, space for coats and bags, and for eating packed lunches.

It will add to the school visits, new resources and hands on activities which will enhance the learning experience of their pupils.

For more information contact Maria Aparicio, operations manager on 01947-601900 or e-mail: 

School Travel Organiser's Guide