The School Trip Community White Logo

The School Trip | Guides

We were lucky to speak with Emma Wright about working as a Learning Manager at the Museum of London.

Discover how Emma ended up working for the Museum of London, what her favourite item at the Museum of London Docklands is and advice for teachers looking to take their students on a school trip.

Museum of London Docklands The School Trip News Post 3 1000x710 Feb 24

Interview with Emma Wright

Do you remember the first time you visited the Museum of London Docklands? What did you enjoy most?

I think I was actually on a day out with my parents. We’d been to Whitechapel and decided to stop in at the museum as we’d never been before. I liked the actual building – it’s a listed 200 year-old sugar warehouse so it’s a fascinating historical artefact in itself. I was surprised at how much there was to see; it’s a lot bigger than people first think!

How did you become the Learning Manager at the Museum of London? And what made you transition from Primary School teacher to working in the Museum sector?

I trained as a primary school teacher and worked in East London for several years. My favourite part of the job was getting pupils out of the classroom and going on trips to various museums and galleries around London – places like the the National Gallery, Tate Modern, Museum of Childhood (now the Young V & A) and of course the Museum of London! My school was very close to the Geffrye Museum (now the Museum of the Home) and I was lucky enough to work closely in partnership with the learning team there to plan trips and staff training which really opened my eyes to the possibility of a career in museum learning.

In 2015, I saw a job advert for a part time role running a primary schools outreach programme at the Museum of London. I had no idea what my chances were but applied anyway and got the job which I could combine with supply teaching. I later went on to manage the schools programme at the Museum of London Docklands, and in 2021, I moved into my current role as a learning manager working across both schools and families activities.

How has having a teaching background helped you in your current role?

My teaching experience was invaluable in helping me move into museum learning. My first museum role was organising workshops and shows that took place in school halls and classrooms across London so it required a solid knowledge of the curriculum and the day-to-day running of primary schools. I’m currently part of a team working on the development of the prehistory gallery at the new London Museum which will open in 2026, and it’s my job in that team to help make sure it’s as accessible and engaging as possible for school groups. Teaching also helped me develop valuable transferable skills like communication, troubleshooting, and flexibility that I put to good use every day!

What is your favourite part of your job?

It’s getting to see those ‘wow’ moments with pupils, seeing their amazement when they come face to face with real objects from our collection. We have things like a Roman tile with a 2000-year-old paw print on it, and a burnt brick from the Great Fire of London. I also love running sessions with trainee teachers at the museum and trying to encourage their enthusiasm about school trips – I know they can be stressful but there are so many benefits.

What is your favourite item in the museum?

At the Museum of London Docklands, it’s probably the bobbin hat, worn by fish porters at the Billingsgate market. They balanced crates of fish on top of their heads so the hat was hardened and the top was flat to help with that, then there’s a rim to catch any dripping fish juices! Pupils and teachers find it fascinating and we’ve got some brilliant pictures in our collection of them being worn.

Museum of London Docklands News post image 1000x710 Feb 24

What advice would you give to teachers trying to engage their students in history?

My top tip to teachers is just to be curious and enthusiastic. You don’t have to know all the answers but if you model that curiosity then the pupils pick up on it. I’m in no way a history specialist but love working with objects and asking questions to find out more. My other tip is to sign up to museum newsletters for schools. Museums have so much to offer not only in terms of trips but also online resources, teacher development and special projects. It can be hard to navigate it all but newsletters are a great way to keep abreast of what’s available.

What advice would you give to teachers considering a school trip to the Museum of London Docklands?

I’d always suggest coming along to the museum to have a look around and see what galleries, spaces and objects will interest your pupils and link to their learning, and think about what they’ll actually be doing while they’re here – will you bring sketchbooks, take photos, ask them to look for particular things? It’s also really useful to know in advance where the cloakrooms, lunch spaces and toilets are! And if you’re interested in booking a workshop, then I’d suggest signing up to our Teachers’ Network to get early access when sessions are released for booking.

Find out more.

Have a question? Get in touch!

Museum of London Docklands The School Trip News Post 1000x710 Feb 24

Plan a school trip

School Trip Ideas with everything you need to plan, book and take your next Educational Visit or Field Trip. Includes theatres, museums, galleries, attractions & more.

Find a workshop

Make the most out of your school trips with an Educational Workshop. Or bring the school trip to you with In-School Workshops & Virtual School Trip Ideas.

Explore resources

Bring the school trip back into the classroom with 400+ Teaching Resources from arts & cultural venues – all available to download & use for free.

Get our latest guide

Download your guide to the best London theatre school trips.

London Theatre Guide Download - Short

By completing this form, you are agreeing you have read our Privacy Policy and to receive updates by email and post from The School Trip Group Ltd.

Read the latest news

Plan a school trip

Find a teaching resource

Explore workshops