Here at the Manchester Museum we absolutely love projects that get pupils involved in real life science that matters – they are, after all, the researchers of tomorrow.
So we were really pleased to get information on the ‘Crowdsourcing4Climate: Community Rainfalls Collections’ pilot project, which hopes to get the public and schools collecting rainfall data to add to the data we can use in all sorts of scientific research. It’s simple but could be a brilliant and effective school project and will support research at Manchester, Birmingham and Leicester Universities.
We’ve attached some information on how you can get involved and would love to see local schools contributing – so do take a look and let us know if you need any further information C4C_TeacherGuide-1.
In the development of our sessions for babies in museums and galleries in Manchester, we were (quite rightly!) challenged by colleagues about the level of participation there would really be for babies. We were asked,
‘Aren’t the sessions really just for the benefit of parents?’
‘Can babies really enjoy museums?’
I posed the question ‘Can babies really enjoy museums?’ to parents attending a Baby Explorer session at Manchester Museum and added, ‘How do you know? ‘
The question did take our parents by surprise! They couldn’t understand why anybody would doubt that their babies were enjoying and participating in the sessions, which for them as parents, was clearly evident.
The many fabulous images we have taken and the short films we have produced, do capture the engagement levels of babies in our sessions, but like anything else, this is far more powerful (and evident) if you experience it directly.
One of our members of staff, who was initially sceptical about the opportunities for babies to truly participate in the sessions, attended one of our baby explorer session and commented afterwards,
‘I think babies can enjoy museums because it’s a totally different environment from other surroundings and they interact with different things than they would usually….they focus on what is being shown them and seem enraptured by what is going on including the storytelling and singing.’
Here is a selection of the feedback we had from parents ……
· It’s helped her to notice things more in other places too. These sessions really help to develop her concentration. I notice when she misses a session.
· Fabulous sensory learning aimed at the age group appropriately. My baby LOVES this. He is active, wide eyed, bouncy and afterwards he sleeps! Thank you.
· Development of motor skills by holding and touching objects. Babies’ eyes lit up concentrating for lengths of time. Staying quiet during singing (attention and listening).
· So many things to see and feel- nothing like home environment. I know how much he enjoys it because he cries when we leave!
Lets keep developing the practice and collecting the evidence of impact, to make the case for more babies in and museums and galleries nationally.
Elaine Bates, Early years coordinator, Manchester Museum
Esme Ward Head of learning and engagement at the Whitworth Art Gallery and the Manchester Museum
Museums Journal May 2013
What a daft question,” was the initial response from parents at Manchester Museum’s fortnightly Baby Explorers session.
“There’s so much to see, touch, explore and experience. Cerys is wide-eyed and open-mouthed at the things here that we don’t have at home or anywhere else.”
We know that museums and galleries can provide a valuable social and learning context for families and new parents. However, only recently have we started to realise the potential of our sites as rich early communication environments for under-twos and babies.
We are playing catch up with the wider cultural sector as many of the UK’s theatres and orchestras have been producing work for under-twos for the past few years.
The Manchester Museums and Galleries Partnership (the Whitworth, Manchester Museum and Manchester Art Gallery) started working with under-twos, particularly babies-before-they-walk, in 2011.
Since then, it has developed participatory programmes and partnerships with nurseries, parent groups, health visitors, post-natal and family services. With prize money awarded by the 2012 Clore Award for Museum Learning, it is now seeking to address the wider museum sector, drive change and support innovation.
It has teamed up with Kids in Museums to produce the first sell-out Babies in Museums workshop, with delegates from over 40 organisations focused on finding out how babies learn, seeing babies in action, sharing tips and encouraging more museums to welcome and engage this audience.
The event explored the social, commercial and organisational benefits of working with babies, but perhaps the most thought-provoking response came from a scientific perspective. Anna Franklin from the University of Sussex Baby Lab’s research focused on how babies sense the world around them.
Using eye trackers and baby monitors, scientists have measured eye movements and looked at how babies respond to faces and objects. We learned how babies are budding physicists, seeking to understand their physical world through experimentation and how, even at six months, they can predict the trajectory of moving objects.
Finally, after showing film of a baby imitating Beyoncé dance moves, we learned about their capacity to learn and remember.
Franklin suggested that babies are ideal museum visitors – because they can sense and perceive, respond to beauty, recognise things, reason about objects and learn and remember.
Clearly, babies in museums are about much more than just enjoyment. Isn’t it time we started taking them seriously?
The next Kids in Museums’ Babies in Museums workshop will be on 26 September at the Museum of Childhood, London
An exciting freelance opportunity has arisen at Manchester Museum to develop and facilitate part of the Museum’s ‘Magic Carpet’ programme for under 5’s and their parents and carers. A total of six themed and resourced sessions will be developed and delivered twice throughout the year. We are looking to recruit a group of practitioners who will be asked to develop up to a minimum of two sessions each and deliver each session twice in the first year (July 2013 – June 2014).
We are looking for creative practitioners who have experience of delivering engagement programmes for children aged 0-5 years and their families in a museum, gallery or cultural venue and who have specialist practice in drama/storytelling, art practice, music, singing or dance and movement.
Please see this document Freelance Opportunity Magic Carpet for further details and how to make expressions of interest by 20th May, 5pm. Looking forward to hearing from you!
First a brief introduction: I’m Hannah, I have recently joined the Learning Team at Manchester Museum as maternity cover for the Primary Learning Co-ordinator. It is all rather busy here so I am going to keep this post quite brief. Something that we are currently trying to think about is how we know our audiences, and this got me thinking… why do schools visit museums? What is it that museums offer to schools that makes them worth visiting? Personally, I assume that it has something to do with the objects and collections – isn’t it?
Well, rather than guessing, I thought it might be useful to try to find out! I have put together a very brief (2 questions) poll, and would like to gather as many responses from both teachers and museum educators as possible. I am going to start off by releasing it for just a week – cut off point is Friday 3rd May at 17:00. I’ll keep you posted with the results but please do spread the word (and the link) to any teachers / educators that you know: Click here to take survey
We’ve been really lucky this year to be able to work with Tameside College‘s Photography students again this year, creating an exhibition that is inspired by the Museum’s collection.
On the 1st March the students were invited into the Museum, given tours of the galleries and collection stores and encouraged to document their visit with photographs. This then formed the basis of their brief:
“Students will be working with Manchester Museum to produce work for an exhibition, in response to the Museum’s collection. They will be utilizing the techniques in the darkroom and the studio to produce a body of work shot on film on either Large or Medium Format cameras, in the studio and printed in the darkroom”
They had until the 27th March to create three final images each, with at least one of each going into the exhibition.
On the 19th March I was asked to go into the College and ‘critique’ the work done so far; to identify the final images for the exhibition and encouraging the students to write labels to accompany their pieces. I was amazed by the thought and detail that had gone into every example of the work done by each student. They had taken elements from the collection and considered them from multiple angles, linking very complex concepts with inspiring ideas and creative input.
Some of the aspects the students were using in their work included using the Zoology specimens to examine the protective layer that animals have – including humans – and metaphorically demonstrating this through masks. There were numerous reflections on the Egyptology collection, scrutinising the means of communication – hieroglyphic script – and translating that into imagery associated with the way we communicate today – via clothing or graffiti, in addition to the mummification process and the preservation of memory and stories.
Some students were intrigued by the idea of what occurs behind the scenes at the Museum – the specimens we keep hidden in stores, and the means by which we classify the collection. This led to responses associated with the food chain, – linking in with the recent horse-meat scandal – dominance in the natural world and the issue of domestic violence (represented by bruised fruit), change over time – as evidenced by Darwin – and how we label not just things, but people.
The exhibition opened on Friday 29th March and has been in place for two weeks, with the closing date on Sunday 14th April. It looks fantastic in our Alhambra space between the Egyptian World gallery and Living Worlds, and there have even been interactive elements for our visitors to become part of the legacy of the project.
All in all, it’s been a fantastic exhibition and the students have done brilliantly as part of the project; they should all be very proud.
Do you have an idea for a clever invention that could solve an every day problem?
BBC Learning and CBBC’s Newsround have launched a very exciting new competition aimed at groups of primary school children aged 8-11. CBBC’s Dick and Dom appeared on the Newsround sofa to launch the competition and explain a little bit more about it.
In the link above you can find all the information about how to enter and some inspirational films about inventing! The competition deadline is the 24th May 2013.
Competition winners get their invention made into a real working device!