Norman Cornish – Arts Award Discover Remote Learning Activity

Remote Activity, £100 per class, KS2

Inspired by the drawings donated to the museum by the Cornish family, this activity aims to teach students about North East artist Norman Cornish and to make art of their own. Participants will attain the Arts Award Discover as part of this activity.

This Zoom-led activity brings the museum straight into the classroom. The Norman Cornish images will be sent to the teacher beforehand so the children can have access to these as they are revealed by the Beamish presenter. Pre-recordings will be used to show the students around a pit cottage, the type of place Norman would have been brought up in. Students will need to identify all the different forms of art to be found in these spaces and will be given a number of quick drawing and sketching activities to do during the presentation. Log books will be completed during and after the remote activity.

  • Target Age: Key Stage 2
  • Cost: £100
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Group Size: Full class (has been delivered to more than one class at the same time)
  • Season: All year round

Guidelines for Teachers

Preparing for the Zoom activity: It is strongly recommended that supervising staff should test the connection between the museum and classroom before the session. Contact Simon Woolley, Head of Learning, email to make arrangements for this (details below).  The Beamish presenter only needs to be able to hear the children in order to make the activity work, although it would be beneficial if children are able to share their sketches.


  • Use of an effective microphone has been beneficial but not essential to the success of the Zoom activity, otherwise children can come up to the laptop to ask a question or make a suggestion as to what to do, or the chat facility can be used.
  • The images of Norman Cornish’s sketches can be shared with the children beforehand alongside some information about his life. Children can do a little research beforehand so they can share what they have discovered. The official site for Norman Cornish is here:, where you will find some amazing learning resources.
  • The presenter will be able to visit an area in The 1900s Town at the museum where connection is good, particularly the Co-op and the garage, and students can choose a suitable area to sketch. Pre-recorded parts of The 1900s Pit Village will be included in the presentation so children will be able to identify different art forms.
  • There may be localised school rules that the presenter may not be aware of regarding online activities for the children, it is important that these are discussed beforehand so everybody is clear about how the session will be delivered.

Outline of the activity:

The presenter (in period costume) will start the session outside the bank on The 1900s Town street at the museum. They will set the scene for the Norman Cornish activity, showing the developing terrace in The 1950s Town, where Norman’s studio will be on display in the future.

The presenter will then illustrate the major events in Norman’s life so the children get to know the artist. There will be three sketching activities for the children to do, they can replicate one of Norman’s paintings or sketches, complete the shading for one of his sketches and draw a section of the museum. Each activity should take no longer than 10 minutes. Teachers will need to supply pencils and other sketching equipment. Log books will be sent to the school before the session.

The presenter will also show short clips from the pit cottages so the children will be able to identify various art forms that can be found there.

Objectives of the activity:

  • To understand the life and times of a local artist, his technique and his focus.
  • To enable children to have a go at sketching.
  • To understand that art is all around us, affecting us every day in our lives.
  • To give opportunities for children to express their opinions about the art they see.

Ideas for pre and post visit:

  • Pre: Prior to the experience, students should be able to explore Norman Cornish and his art so the engagement is interactive during the session.
  • Post: Possible follow up activities could be:
    • Complete the log book to apply for the Discover Arts Award (costs for this are included in the outline charges).
    • Continue to explore Norman Cornish and his work.
    • Students can create their own biography about the life and times of Norman Cornish.
    • Share their work at home and with other classes.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us. Telephone Simon Woolley, Head of Learning, on 0191 370 4011 or email

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