On Saturday 9th July, a team from Historyworks headed off for the Big Weekend, to provide a ‘pop up’ activity as part of the ‘Make and Create’ tent on Parker’s Piece. Cambridge University Museums coordinated the tent and the activities along the theme of COMMUNICATION, and therefore Helen Weinstein had decided that we must take up the invite to showcase our Historyworks projects using new technology to deliver history to the public.


Historyworks engaged the public successfully with our pilot of history trails, both walking trails and the new museum trail we are preparing for the Cambridge Museum of Technology. We brought Bluetooth beacons to show the public, and our smartphones to demonstrate two trails, the Cambridge Museum of Technology Trail, and the history tour around Great St Mary’s and the Market Place. This activity was a big hit and we were delighted to be invited to participate.
Historyworks gave out the Cycle of Songs geo-located app for visitors who had not used it before, and then Helen and the intern volunteers, Martha and Will, used their phones to demonstrate the new Bluetooth technology to the public.


Our Historyworks activity was in partnership with the Cambridge Museum of Technology, whose Curator, Pam was offering morse code re-enactments with the children and their families who visited our stall. Also, Helen helped the CMT volunteers with building early modern bonfire models to show communication practice tudor-style, and Helen provided the history about when bonfire beacons were used for spreading word of good and bad news, for example, for those living near the coast of England at the times of the Spanish Armada, when Elizabethans feared an invasion.We had many children from Ridgefield and Morley, St Matthews and St Pauls and St Phillips visit us at the tent, introducing us to their parents, because we had met them at choir or at our Yr 5 history trails. We also had Museum practitioners stop at our stall to learn about the technology, not only from Cambridge but also from other European countries, particularly Scandinavia.


Because most of the activities were for children, many of the adults were very pleased to communicate with the team at Historyworks for the show and tell adults and families about Bluetooth beacons and our history trials. The Cambridge Festival of Ideas team counted over 2,000 through our tent between 12 noon and 3pm, and it was estimated over 3,000 would visit by 5pm.The Big Weekend is a mega event in the calendar of Cambridge, as the name suggests! There were live bands on a festival stage, food tents, and thousands of families enjoying the FREE activities. This year the theme was Health and Wellbeing, so there were also lots of ‘get active’ games such as ping pong in the Sport Zone.


To find out more please go to:

You can see the Big Weekend festival stage photos and the scenes on Parker’s Piece in the slide show by ‘Cambridge Live’ here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/133701143@N04/sets/72157668065355704/