Introduction to Identifying and Dating Historic Objects - The joy of stuff

Ref: C3530667

The Joy of Stuff is about engaging with historic objects in a more dynamic and interesting way. Starting with curiosity, we shall then interrogate Victorian and more recent objects using the clues left behind in their manufacture or use. Add to the fun and bring along a mystery item of your own for identification and dating too.

Course aim

Introduction to identifying, dating and engaging with old or obsolete objects through patterns of wear and tear, style, material, registration and maker's marks or hallmarks etc - 'Granny's Attic' or 'The Joy of Stuff'.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • Museum and Heritage centre or charity shop volunteers may find this course especially useful, though hopefully it will appeal to collectors too.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Identify at least one new item during the session.
  • Identify registration marks and numbers and distinguish these from makers' marks.
  • Understand how registration and makers marks and numbers can be used to date items.
  • Recognise a hallmark.
  • Use internet and other research sites like libraries and archives more effectively.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • Bring a mystery object. In addition you may like to bring pen and paper, magnifying glasses/jewellers' eyepieces, tape measures etc, though some will be provided.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here

Download full course information sheet

Introduction to Identifying and Dating Historic Objects - The joy of stuff


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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