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.
arts award supporter

Educational Visits


Educational Visits – Includes a Guided Activity Session of 1 / 1.5 hours but you are free to stay throughout Museum opening 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 visits to the Cowper & Newton Museum are tailor-made for you but here are 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) …

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 based on CMS resource pack.  


Online Resources 

The Life of John Newton / Amazing Grace

The Life of John Newton – an outline of his life

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.

A short film made by Junior Filmmakers MK, part of their ‘Because of Them, We Can’ series.  Amazing Grace

The Atlantic Slave Trade / The Campaign to Abolish Slavery

Slavery & Abolition at the Cowper & Newton Museum  – An overview: William Cowper – Abolition poet /  John Newton – slave trader & Abolitionist

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

‘The Lust of Gain’ vs ‘Christian Duty’ / The Transatlantic Slave Trade: a short film made as part of the Citizens Project

Additional Resource pack to accompany 3 new films currently in production by Royal Holloway: What was the transatlantic slave trade?
Who profited from the slave trade? Who were the Abolitionists?

Show Racism the Red Card is the UK’s leading anti-racism educational charity.  Find education materials and information about school based visits.

Anti-Slavery International Information and learning resources.  Founded in 1839, they are the oldest international human rights organisation in the world

A wide range of resources from Professor Brycchan Carey: Slavery, British Abolitionists, Olaudah Equiano, Ignatius Sancho, Quobna Ottobah Cugoano, 

A Chronology of Slavery, Abolition, and Emancipation – Prof Brycchan Carey 

Syllabus and resources from the West African Senior School Certificate Examination; ‘West Africa and the Wider World from Earliest Times to 2000’

Actor performed readings from the Amazing Grace Festival:  Olaudah Equiano  William Cowper   Hannah Moore

Direct link to William Cowper’s anti-slavery poetry 

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

USI Understanding Slavery Initiative: Supporting those teaching and learning about Transatlantic Slavery

Slave Voyages website: Explore the dispersal of enslaved Africans across the Atlantic World   The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database

Legacies of British slave ownership database University College London

The Lewis Walpole Library online exhibition  Prospects of Empire: Slavery and Ecology in Eighteenth-Century Atlantic Britain

The Impact of the Slave Trade on Africa:  National Museums Liverpool,  Open University resources

Black Lives – Heritage & Culture

Black Singers and Folk Ballads  Learning Resources – The English Folk Dance and Song Society 

Black Sailors and Sea Shanties Learning Resources – The English Folk Dance and Song Society 

Amazing Grace: The American Spiritual -exploring diversity, equity, equality, and inclusion through America’s music

Black History Month www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk

Resource List weblinks: Black Abolitionists & 18th Century World

Pages from ‘Golden Legacy Illustrated History Magazine, 1966,  ‘The saga of Toussaint L’Ouverture and the birth of Haiti’,  Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Resource List weblinks: Rich & Diverse Culture of Africa

Black British History – resources from Institute of Commonwealth Studies.

Ghosts of Amistad: In the Footsteps of the Rebels – Education resources 

 Ashlee McIntosh presents on two free films for schools from the Citizens Project. She shares why she supports the Royal Holloway, University of London made materials , explains what her experience was as the only black student in her class and gives her suggestion for how they are used in the classroom.  

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.

Contact Us

01234 711516

Orchard Side
Market Place
MK46 4AJ

Email us

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Book Museum Tickets

Our Museum building remains CLOSED.  We are opening our gardens on limited entry.  The Cowper & Newton Museum gardens will be open to welcome you on Wednesday 5th August 10.30 – 12.15 and Saturday 8th August 10.30 – 12.15

(Follow our social media accounts or check back here for further opening days & times as they become available)