The collections at Suffolk Archives are packed with things that can support learning and bring history to life. Using sources from the archives enables us to make learning personal to your students and the places where they live, and provides opportunities for students to ask questions, and seek out the answers.

As part of our National Lottery-supported project, we are developing a range of resources and sessions for primary and secondary schools, alongside the development of our new building, The Hold.

The resources on these pages are all free for teachers to download, and they are fully editable so you can tailor them to your students.

If there is a topic you would like to use archive material for but which is currently available here, please get in touch with us on [email protected]

Toys Through Time

Three vintage teddy bears. All are a golden-brown colour, one has a maroon ribbon around his neck tied in a bow.

Loan boxes containing a collection of real and replica historic and vintage toys, from the Victorian era to the 1990s. They are designed to be used with children in EYFS and Key Stage 1.

First World War

A black and white photograph of a large informal group of First World War soldiers outside the Woolpack Inn pub in Fornham St Martin. They are gathered around an open bay window and are holding metal containers which look like they might be used to eat from.

Our First World War resources are full of digitised images and documents which show how the war affected life in Suffolk. These resources could be used with all students from KS2 onwards.

Second World War

Access photographs and oral histories that tell the stories of VE Day 1945 across Suffolk. Suitable for KS2 upwards.

Crime and punishment

Sepia photograph of a group of boys aged about 9-14 in front of a brick wall with a door and a window in it. The boys are dressed in trousers, waistcoats, and long jackets, but many of their outfits look too big for them, and they have a slightly scruffy air.

Explore the links between crime and poverty for children in Victorian society using primary source material from Suffolk’s reform School. Suitable for KS2 onwards.

Making sense of the census

Example of a census page, with people's information written by hand into columns on a pre-printed sheet

Find out how you can find and use these incredibly useful documents to explore life in Victorian England. Includes a sample Maths activity.

Making an oral history recording

A photo taken over a person's shoulder, who is holding a digital recorder in their hands

Making and then working with an oral history is fantastic for working on listening, speaking, and questioning skills.

Online games and downloads

Play online jigsaw puzzles made from images from our collections

Free downloadable colouring sheets made with images from our collections


Photograph of The Street at The Hold. A large, airy space with a high ceiling. A long space stretches in front of you, with a polished concrete floor. On the left is a shop area, on the right a high wall with huge charcoal drawings of Ipswich waterfront.
The Street at The Hold, Ipswich

We have three branches which schools can visit, in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft. On a visit, students would be able to see real historical documents, and how we look after them for present and future generations. If you would like to discuss a visit, please contact us on [email protected]

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Comments from students after a Suffolk Archives session

It was so cool how she had things from back in the past.

I enjoyed learning about the pictures of our school a long time ago. I also enjoyed looking at the difference between things in the present day and things in the past.

I enjoyed learning about our school’s history, because I like the feeling I get when I know that I am sitting right where other children say many years ago, doing similar things to what they did.

I like[d] seeing what’s changed… I found out a lot.