The London Museum School Collaborative, under the leadership of The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, successfully established Museum School in London, Ontario in January 2005. The London Museum School Pilot Project was an exciting collaboration of four community museum sites, a London-based research institute, two District school boards and business partners. The program partners used the award-winning Campus Calgary/Open Minds program as the model and guiding framework. The pilot was funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation and London Life. Further funding and in-kind support was received from several other businesses and organizations. Each of the museum sites involved and both local school boards contributed significant in-kind support to make the pilot program possible.
Discussions about the potential of creating a Museum School Program in London began in the fall of 2002. The program was proposed by Betsy Little, who was the Executive Director of The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame at that time. In the spring of 2004, a focus group of 6 teachers from the Thames Valley District School Board and London District Catholic School Board came together to review the proposal for the pilot, to determine its viability for the region, and to make suggestions for changes.
178 students from seven elementary school classes participated in the London Museum School Pilot Project. Each class spent an entire week at one of the four participating museum sites: The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (teamed with Robarts Research Institute), Fanshawe Pioneer Village, the London Regional Children’s Museum and Museum London. Results were extremely encouraging. Teachers, parents, volunteers and students clearly indicated that this was a highly valued program.
In May 2006, the London Museum School Pilot Project was recognized for its innovative approach and positive impact by being awarded the 2005 Museums and Schools Partnership Award by the Canadian College of Teachers and the Canadian Museum of Nature in collaboration with the Canadian Museums Association.
Both the Ontario Trillium Foundation and London Life have continued their support of the London Museum School program. This support has enabled the London Museum School Collaborative to obtain funding from other foundations and community organizations, allowing the program to offer additional Museum School weeks each year.
In the fall of 2008, the Museum of Ontario Archaeology joined the London Museum School Collaborative, bringing the number of participating museum sites to five.
The newest partner to join the Collaborative is the Woodstock Museum National Historic Site. This is an exciting new addition as it has enabled Museum School to be more accessible to schools in Oxford County.