What is Making a Mark?

Making a Mark is a set of curriculum-based programmes developed by eight Tees Valley museums working with the National Portrait Gallery. Each museum’s programme covers different subjects and is targeted at different Key Stages.

How does it work?

Making a Mark is different to other museum programmes because it focuses on personal, local and national identity.

Sessions offer students the chance to explore their local heritage or environment through stories of people. National Portrait Gallery pictures, famous stories or costumed characters then bring a national context to the local history. How exciting would it be to have Charles Darwin explain evolution as you explore the natural history of the Skinningrove valley?

Our experience since January 2013 has been that students develop a deeper understanding if they take part in at least two led sessions within the programme. Many of our partner museums therefore offer workshops that you can select and combine across a day, or series of days, to make the biggest impact for your students.

You can also choose to do Arts Award with us. The Making a Mark Arts Award Discover for primary students is offered by all the partner museums and includes free folders and Making a Mark certificates for students taking part. The Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima) offers a specialist version of the programme, often working with their artists in residence. If you decide to add Arts Award Discover to your sessions there will be a small additional charge of £3.75 per student for their Arts Award Discover certificates payable to Trinity College who administer the Arts Award programme.

  All Making a Mark programmes support the new curriculum and topics in other curricula such as Cornerstones and the International Primary Curriculum (IPC).

You can use our online resources to help students explore personal, local and national identity as an extension to museum visits or to enrich classroom work.

  You can also borrow Loans Boxes to bring your topic to life in the classroom or as part of creating your own exhibition.

Museum programmes

Captain Cook Birthplace Museum, Middlesbrough
Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum
Dorman Museum, Middlesbrough
Hartlepool Museum and Art Gallery
Head of Steam Museum, Darlington
Kirkleatham Museum
Preston Park Museum, Stockton on Tees

Children learned more from the two days at Kirkleatham than they had during the five week topic at school, thanks to excellent resources and lively and engaging museum staff.

Assistant Head

They have remembered a lot of the information they learned and the enquiry skills they were taught, which they have used in subsequent History topics.


I have been able to link the work we are doing in class to something real, something the children have already seen and it allows them to link the information in their own minds


We are already following the new curriculum and the activities offered fitted in perfectly. Our ‘Engage’ week for our wanted us to visit somewhere with interesting rocks and speak to geologists. The Museum really inspired creative learning in a cross-curricular way