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Hands On History

Activity Days for Schools and Museums

A massive thank you for your continued support and best wishes. The last few years have been a rollercoaster of uncertainty, change, and achievement. COVID meant change, and we have used it positively to review what we do. The business has not just survived but grown in ways we could not have imagined before April 2020. We have never worked so hard and on so many different projects and history days. Highlights included large scale projects on Roman and modern slavery, Roman roads, the English Civil War, Gladiators, and the Battle of Agincourt. The last few years have been very special for us, and a time we will never forget.

When you support a small independent business, you are not just supporting a local business but a family as well. A booking is not just a number on a balance sheet but has the power to make a difference to the person, their family, and the future of the business.

You are also supporting a dream. I started the business back in 1992, based on my massive collection of educational artefacts. I use archaeology as a way of accessing history, and artefacts to bring history to life. Artefacts are my passion. I started collecting at the age of 10. My life has been based around historical material culture, and there are artefacts spilling out of every room at home. We work in museums as well as schools, and sadly they have taken a massive hit during COVID-19. We passionately believe that giving children the opportunity to access artefacts has never been so vital, or what we provide so important.

Now more than ever the nature of our days are tailored to fit each school and teaching space, with new ways of learning, smaller classes, shorter sessions and new challenges. We can provide displays of missile weapons, archery, and even Greek and Roman artillery to teach science and history at the same time. For those who are even more adventurous we can bring history alive with mounted displays from different time periods.

Thank you for all your messages of support, they have meant a great deal and will not be forgotten. We started delivering school days in 1992 and have made our history with some of you. The ability to touch the past and connect to the ancestors never ceases to amaze. 

We hope to see you all in the future.

Best wishes


Tel. 07904 322728

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Hands On History

Established 1992

Historical Interpretations provides exciting and educational historical workshops in the North of England, with expert costumed interpreters and using the largest collection of educational artefacts in the country.

We are passionate about using archaeology as a way of accessing history. John started the artefact collection back in the 1970's, and we use the artefacts to bring the past to life. Our artefacts are of museum quality, authentic, really do work, and are used by pupils in handling sessions to connect to the past.

Primarily we teach in schools, but we have given historical and craft demonstrations for Time Team, universities, Young Archaeologists Clubs, English Heritage, the Forestry Commission, local authorities, and museums including Jorvik Viking Centre, the Yorkshire Museum, Royal Armouries, the Bodleian Library, the Great North Museum, and the British Museum.

  • Full time professional registered for income tax

  • Police checked, fully insured, and risk assessed

  • Over 30 years teaching experience

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Hands on History

John is a professional reconstructor with over 30 years of experience, and a Research Associate at the University of Kent with the research centre of Late Antique Archaeology. He set up Historical Interpretations in 1992, using his passion for archaeology as a medium to teach history in schools. The company now teaches 10,000 pupils per year in Yorkshire and Humberside using reconstructed artefacts. John enjoys reconstructing artefacts from all periods of history, understanding their construction and use. He specialises in Greek and Roman riding, especially Roman saddles and tack. You will often find him on horseback teaching horse archery.

  • Fully insured, risk assessed, and DBS checked

  • Full time professional registered for income tax

  • A passion for history and artefacts


Hands on Artefacts

We use archaeology as a way of accessing history, bringing massive numbers of artefacts into schools to bring the past to life.

Our collection of artefacts is of the highest quality, authentic, and they really do work. Our passion is not just in the object itself, but how it works. The artefacts are used by pupils in handling sessions to connect to the past and learn about their history.

We engage children and adults of all abilities, using hands on artefacts and activities. We have a huge collection, and these can be tailored to suit not just varying age groups and abilities, but also those with physical disabilities such as blindness. We travel to you so teaching time is maximised and there is no need to hire coaches.


    Booking a Day

    The interpreter comes to you for the whole day. They will aim to arrive at school around 8.00 am to allow time to set up and ensure the planned day will meet your expectations. The day finishes at 3.00 pm, to allow equipment to be cleared safely before pupils leave.

    Your feedback consistently rates our artefacts as excellent and you like

    • Our comunication and how easy it is to book a day

    • The way children are highly engaged and stimulated

    • That we are in school for a full day, 8.00am-3.00pm

    • That we come to you, maximising teaching time

    • There is no need to hire coaches

    • The knowledge of our presenters

    • That we actually teach, interspersed with activities

    • That days are tailored to suit differing abilities

    • That children are able to handle the artefacts

    • The quality and range of resources we provide

    • Days can be tailored to suit every school’s timetable and curriculum


    How much does it cost?

    Quotations are based upon the number of children, mileage, and specific requirements, with a cost ceiling for larger schools.

    • The cost is calculated on the basis of £6.50 per child, with a minimum fee for each day. Quotes for two or three classes can work out cheaper.

    • We offer a repeat booking loyalty discount.

    • We can offer a History Week covering a range of topics at a reduced rate.

    • Quotes are a fraction of the cost of hiring a bus and visiting an attraction for just a few hours.

    • Days can be constructed from two half day sessions or several short presentations.

    • When booking a day we will help you explore all your various options.

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    I would love to hear from you

    07904 322728

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