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Through the eyes of Bernard, a young boy living in Chelmsford during the war, pupils will see and experience the impact of the war on everyday life and the town.

Pupils will handle real and replica objects, take part in role play activities and examine photographs and documents as they explore the impact of World War II through Bernard’s war time experience in Chelmsford.

In this session, pupils will:

  • handle objects, documents and photographs to build up a picture of what life on the home front was like for Bernard and his family.
  • try on replica gas masks and practice air raid drills just as Bernard would have done.
  • take part in rationing activities to understand the impact of these restrictions and see how clothes and toys were recycled and repurposed as families were forced to ‘Make do and mend’.
  • hear about air raids from Bernard’s father, an air raid warden at the Marconi factory and discover why Chelmsford was a key target for Luftwaffe raids.
  • develop empathy as we examine newspaper articles and photographs and piece together the events of a day that changed Bernard’s life forever and the lasting impact of the war on Chelmsford.

Teacher feedback

“A better understanding of how WWII affected the lives of everyday people. The chance to handle objects and try on a gas mask gave them an insight into how it might have felt to be alive during WWII. Well explained and at the right level for their understanding with all the children’s answers being valued.”

Mildmay Junior School

National curriculum links

  • a local history study
  • a study of an aspect of history or a site dating from a period beyond 1066
  • a study over time of how aspects of national history are reflected in the locality


One class per session. For two classes or a whole day visit, combine this session with Sparky's history hide and seek trail which will give your pupils an opportunity to explore the whole museum.

This session could also be combined with our Film makers session, which will challenge your pupils to reflect on and respond to issues raised in this session.


We have indoor lunch space available, plus picnic benches and a children's play area in the park. The museum is fully accessible with a lift and an accessible toilet.