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Historical Questions to ask about Pictures and Artefacts

This useful ‘aide memoire’ put together by Ann Moore, allows teachers to engage their pupils in observing a picture or artefact more closely than if they were asked general questions.

Over time, children will begin to ask and answer these questions themselves

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Download the resource [ click here ]

Historical Questions to ask about Pictures and Photographs

  • What can you can see in this picture / photograph?
  • Can you describe what the people are wearing?
  • Do people wear clothes like this nowadays?
  • What do you think the people in the picture / photograph are doing?
  • Do people do this sort of thing nowadays?
  • If not, what do they do instead?
  • Some of the objects you can see in the picture are still around today.  What are they?
  • What objects are there in the picture / photograph that we don’t see nowadays?
  • Do you think this picture is old, very old, modern?
  • What makes you think this?
  • How can we find out when this picture was painted / taken?
  • How can we find out who took this picture?
  • Why do you think it is important to find these things out?
  • Why do you think this picture / photograph was taken/ painted?
  • Do you think this picture was posed?  Can we trust it?
  • What do you think the people were feeling when the picture was painted / taken?
  • Would you have wanted to be in this picture?
  • Does this picture give us enough evidence and how people lived in those days?
  • What other types of evidence do you think we need?
  • Where can we find this evidence?

Historical Questions to ask about Pictures and Photographs

  • What can you can see in this picture / photograph?
  • Can you describe what the people are wearing?
  • Do people wear clothes like this nowadays?
  • What do you think the people in the picture / photograph are doing?
  • Do people do this sort of thing nowadays?
  • If not, what do they do instead?
  • Some of the objects you can see in the picture are still around today.  What are they?
  • What objects are there in the picture / photograph that we don’t see nowadays?
  • Do you think this picture is old, very old, modern?
  • What makes you think this?
  • How can we find out when this picture was painted / taken?
  • How can we find out who took this picture?
  • Why do you think it is important to find these things out?
  • Why do you think this picture / photograph was taken/ painted?
  • Do you think this picture was posed?  Can we trust it?
  • What do you think the people were feeling when the picture was painted / taken?
  • Would you have wanted to be in this picture?
  • Does this picture give us enough evidence and how people lived in those days?
  • What other types of evidence do you think we need?
  • Where can we find this evidence?

Historical Questions to ask about Artefacts

Physical Features

  • What colour is it?
  • What does it smell like?
  • What does it sound like?
  • What does it look like?
  • What does it feel like?
  • What material is it made of?
  • Is it natural or ‘man’ made?
  • Has it been altered, adapted or mended?
  • What makes you think it is old / modern / very old?
  • Do you like it?

Construction

  • Is it hand-made or machine made?
  • How has it been put together
  • What type of person might have made this?

Function

  • How has the object been used and what clues tell you about its use?
  • Has its use changed over time?
  • Was the object used for practical or decorative functions?
  • What sort of person might have used it?
  • Would the owners have been rich, poor, middle class, workers etc?

Value

  • How much do you think it is worth?

Category

What sort of category could you put these objects in?

  • same material
  • same colour
  • same place to find it
  • similar purpose
  • same type of owner
  • same value
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