Schools & Learning Programme

Welcoming schools & young people to the Cowper & Newton Museum – a treasure trove of fascinating personal belongings and stories, set in a historic Georgian building and gardens on the Market Place in Olney.


Arts Award Supporter   

  • Free entry for young people under 16 during normal opening times
  • Poetry trail linked to the Museum where the poems were written
  • Art, literature, gardening, mental health, hymns, Amazing Grace
  • Monthly art exhibitions.

Educational Visits

Educational Visits – Sessions 1.5 hours

10 children and over = £3 per child 5-16 years
Under 10 children = Minimum fee is £30

Adults free up to a ratio of 1:6.  One (free) adult to every 6 children. Additional adult £6.50 per person (from 17 years)


We are able to support your National and Creative Curriculum:

  • Group visits to absorb the Georgian atmosphere here in this wonderful 18th century building
  • We can visit your school, bringing our artefacts & stories to share with you

PLEASE NOTE:  Visits to St Peter & St Paul should be booked directly with the church.

For small groups age 4-8 (less then 20), we also have items of costume for all children which can be worn throughout the visit to the Museum. £5.00 additional charge for the group

The Museum is closed to the General Public on Mondays but is available for School Visits

Larger groups will be split into smaller groups of no more than 15 children.  These groups can be run concurrently in different rooms within the Museum or one after the other by using the Gardens, Gazebo and/or Viper Barn.


All our visits are tailor made for you but below you will find some ideas.


Welcome to the Museum & the 18th Century

A general visit could include: dressing up in 18th century costume a boy and a girl, introduction to Mrs Unwin, Mr Cowper &  Mr Newton, local trades, letter writing, gardening, life before electricity, the Great Fires of Olney (18th /19th century) …


Reading the Past in Portraits

How to read a painting to find out about the past, how to pose for your own portrait, create your own artwork

Information Booklet for Teachers: Guided and Self Guided School Visits  here


Art in the Museum & Garden

The Museum rooms are ideal for personal sketching with their wide range of materials and artefacts.
The Garden is an excellent venue for personal photography and art projects.
From May to the end of October there is also a Gazebo in the Courtyard which can be booked for activities.
There are exhibitions in The Three Hares Gallery all year.
We work with a wide range of artists who are also happy to include a 30 min demonstration as part of your visit.


.The British Slave Trade and Abolition Campaign

William Cowper and John Newton’s involvement in the Abolition Movement

Download our History Detective Investigation here based on CMS resource pack.  



Free KS3 & 4 Resource pack ‘John Newton & Amazing Grace’ (includes: information, a film by Rick Wakeman from BBC Manchester & Jerusalem Productions, Powerpoints) from RE:ONLINE

A link to a short American film about the life of John Newton and Amazing Grace.  Suitable for worship or lessons


.Why did it take so long to abolish slavery in the British Empire? In this video from the Citizens800 project shows students from Turing House School examine the factors which delayed the emancipation of slaves in the British Empire.

Short film which Introduces the roles Cowper & Newton played in the Abolition Campaign.  Part of the Citizens800 project

Links to resources from Brycchan Carey  here

Direct link to William Cowper’s anti-slavery poetry here

Also see information and hear Rev Martin Luther King jr at Glenville High, Cleveland in 1967, referencing William Cowper

Resource Pack from CMS and the Citizenship Foundation, incl links to video clips from the film ‘Amazing Grace’

Learning Activities from The Abolition Project

Learning Activities about the The Campaign for Abolition from The British Library

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database


The Sofa Challenge

Be inspired to write your own poetry and descriptive text by William and John, the house, the ‘Verse Manufactory’ and garden

Poetry Treasure Trail leaflet

‘Orchard Side Poetry Inspiration’     Information for Teachers:  Guided and Self Guided School Visits  (age 7+)    here

‘Inspiration for Poetry – What Am I?’  Unravelling Riddles & Writing You Own’        Information for Teachers:  Guided and Self Guided School Visits  (age 5-7)  here


Facilities at the museum include:

  • Gazebo in the courtyard (from late spring throughout the summer)
  • 2 gardens, one with William Cowper’s summerhouse (which he called his ‘word manufactory’!)
  • Shop
  • Toilet 


PLEASE NOTE:  The house has 6 flights of stairs, and old (uneven!) floorboards.  Contact the Museum for our House and Garden Risk Assessment.


Education Sessions in School

In addition to visits to the Museum we are able to bring our learning sessions (1 – 1/2 hours) to your school: mini-museums, dressing up, animating poetry, letter writing ..  
  • 18th century clothing
  • The Great Fires of Olney
  • The Lace Trade (subject to availability)
  • The Diverting History of John Gilpin  – classic poetry
  • John Newton & William Cowper’s roles in the Abolition of Slavery campaign
  • Life Before Electricity

Contact us by letter, email or telephone.

AddressOrchard Side
Market Place
MK46 4AJ
Telephone No+44 (0)1234 711516