Learning through objects from the Islington Education Library Service’s handling collection

About Us

Islington Education Artefacts Library

The artefacts library is a modern day cabinet of curiosities, an eccentric and eclectic collection of objects acquired over a period of 20 years to create an inspirational handling collection for local schools. Many of our objects are valuable or unique, but the collection also includes mass produced or tourist items, found objects and natural history specimens. All the artefacts have been carefully collected by us because we believe they have a resonance, they can provoke a question, help to empathize with other lives, human and animal, in other times and places, or simply fill you with wonder.

The artefacts and costumes are a handling resource, designed to be touched, worn or used with minimal supervision. The collection includes original and replica objects and documents. Most of our replicas are sourced from museum standard historical re-enactment suppliers which are based on original techniques and archaeological finds. The resources are catalogued with information to help the user get the most from the collection and the library offers regular training and support to our users. 

puppet shelfObjectlessons is a digital collection of over 400 artefacts and costumes from the collection and includes accessible information and links. It gives the opportunity to explore a selection of our objects in the collection through high quality images accompanying text and interactives. The teacher resources section provides ideas for activities and downloadable resources.

Islington Education Library Service

This collection is part of the Islington Education Library Service which has an extensive collection of resources, over 200,000 items also including books, posters, DVDs and other resources. Schools in the London area can borrow resources from us to support curriculum and creative projects. If you want to find out more about our loan services see our website http://www.iels.org/

Our book collections have been carefully chosen to encourage reading for pleasure and to support and inspire the curriculum. Resources are selected to promote cultural diversity and books are bought from around the world. Staff have extensive knowledge of matching the right book to the child’s reading age and curriculum requirements.

The Content

We have provided information about the objects to the best of our knowledge and have sometimes provided links to suppliers and other websites. If you are able to add or amend the information we have provided please do let us know.

Intended Use

As a school resource to enhance IWB based teaching and for pupils to participate in independent research.

See help section to find out how to navigate and use this site


The website is free to access and the texts, images and interactives are copyright free for education non commercial use and can be downloaded, copied and edited in any way. Please credit Islington Education Library Service on any reproduction.

Borrowing From Our Collection

If you are interested in borrowing resources please visit our main website for more information www.iels.org
tudor shelves

Contact Details

Islington Education Library Service
2 Fieldway Crescent
London N5 1PF

Tel: 020 7527 5827
Fax: 020 7527 5564
Email: els@islington.gov.uk


Web Design: www.bgz-consultants.com
Illustrations/Photography/Design: Fred Scully www.fredscully.com
Photography: Steve Shott steve.shott@talk21.com
Islington Education Library Service Staff