Conceptio: Tameside College Photography Exhibition

Each year we are lucky enough to work with a fantastic set of photography students from Tameside College. We set them a brief – to use the Museum collection as inspiration for an image to be produced in the darkroom – and every year the cohort deliver us some brilliantly thought-provoking photography that we display in the Museum.

The work from this year has just gone on display on our First Floor Bridge and is looking particularly professional. It will remain on display until the 20th April, so if you can I would recommend popping by to take a look: there’s nothing like viewing the images up close to see the details.

However, if you can’t make it here are some pictures (click to enlarge); Enjoy!

Medicine in Ancient Times: In Action

Check out this short video about our Medicine in Ancient Times workshop that Matthew Moss High School made as part of work on a joint Science and Humanities project looking at medicine through history with their Year 7 students.

To find out more about the workshop, click here. To enquire about making a booking complete our online enquiry form.

Early Years teacher social event at Manchester Museum 23 March 4.30-6pm FREE!

Calling all early years teachers ……..

I would like to invite you to an informal teacher twilight event here at Manchester Museum on Monday 23rd March 4.30pm – 6pm (wine and nibbles included!)

There will be an opportunity to explore the museum, to find out what is on offer for young children and to plan a visit that links to the EYFS curriculum.
Have a look at our short film clip to see some young children exploring our natural history collections!

There is an opportunity to visit our newly opened Nature Discovery gallery which has been redeveloped especially for young children and their adults, using our natural history collections to introduce young children to the variety of nature and to develop an interest in nature.

If you would you like to attend this free event could you please RSVP to let me know of your attendance (and if you would like bring any of your colleagues)

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions and I look forward to meeting you at the museum.

I would also like to make you aware of a training day on Monday 16th March ( 9.30-12.30) I am running jointly with Martenscroft Nursery School and Children’s Centre in Hulme which is about enriching the early years curriculum through visits to creative environments like the museum.
Please see link below for booking details

Elaine Bates

Early Years Coordinator
Manchester Museum
E Mail: elaine.bates Tel: 0161 306 1777

‘Sneak a Peek’ at Museum Learning, it’s awesome!

Here’s a quick peek at some fabulous photography work undertaken by Joe Gardner Photography. Have a look through a selection of our sessions for groups aged from Early Years and Primary to Secondary and Post 16 students, thanks to Joe for the beautiful moments captured with our young museum explorers!

Some of our youngest explorers having their first taste of fun, interactive, cultural education at the museum.

DSC_4030The big reveal, what is it?!

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DSC_5440Pyramid Builders at the Museum!

Up-close investigations with our very special mummy Asru.DSC_5568


Learning from objects; handling real Egyptian artefacts!


Hands on learning helps to enrich the study of Ancient Trade.


First hand experience using laboratory equipment.


Thanks again to Joe Gardner.

Watch this space to find out more about the Manchester Museum’s Learning Programme.

Dinosaur Egg Discovery!

A wonderful group of children in Year 2 from St Johns C of E school in Leigh, Greater Manchester have been doing some very brave dinosaur discovery work. The class have unearthed a dinosaur egg in their very own playground! We have been hearing all about it from the exceptional letters they had sent over to us detailing their discovery and showing us their evidence.We couldn’t help but respond and we’ve sent back photographs of Manchester Museum’s very own dinosaur egg!

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Here’s just a taste of the quality of the children’s work and an idea of what they had discovered…

Fabulous work, well done to everyone involved!IMG_1030

Telford Art College Promoting Siberia: At the Edge of the World

Before Christmas we hosted a visit from some students on the Fine Art course at Telford College of Arts & Technology. They had been set a brief by us in partnership with their tutor to develop a piece of work that would help promote our current temporary exhibition Siberia: At the Edge of the World. This multi-disciplinary exhibition explores the natural history and culture of this immense territory that is one and a half times bigger than Europe. Combining stunning photographic images of its vast landscapes and diverse people with a selection of natural history specimens and cultural objects, we look beyond the stereotypical view of Siberia.

During their visit students were given the chance to explore the exhibition, seeing how it altered their existing perception of Siberia and took part in a print workshop inspired by Siberia to test out some techniques and develop their ideas. The final pieces have now been created, using either paint or print methods, and we will be sharing them via social media (Twitter and Facebook) over the course of the half term holiday (16-20th February 2015).

However, you can have a sneaky peek below at the fantastic range of artwork produced by these hardworking students. Telford College’s Head of Department will be choosing a top prize for one deserving student and our Curator, David Gelsthorpe, will be choosing his pick; for which another prize will be awarded.

Keep a look out on our Twitter feed over half term to Retweet your favourite and let the students know what you think of their great work!

Siberia: At the Edge of the World will be at the Manchester Museum until Sunday 1st March.

Now booking! Early Years curriculum enrichment session: EYFS Knowledge and understanding of the World

Manchester Museum in partnership with Martenscroft nursery schooland children’s centre, will be running a curriculum enrichment session, exploring practical ideas to creatively deliver the knowledge and understanding of the world area of learning. The session will also include an opportunity to visit Manchester museum and explore our new Nature Discovery gallery for under 5’s (and their parents, carers and teachers)

Please join us on Friday 6th February 9.30-12.30 at

Martenscroft nursery school and children’s centre

Cost: £35 per person

Contact Dee to book your place – 0161 226 1266 or email

To find out more about the early years offer at the museum, please visit our learning page at

Elaine Bates
Early Years Coordinator
E Mail: elaine.bates Tel: 0161 306 1777

Lever Prize winners 2015

“Fantastic. Exactly what the students wanted” – Teacher feedback

We are thrilled to announce that Manchester Museum has won the prestigious Lever Prize 2015, for our Real Life Science programme. So we are eagerly  getting started with the plans for this year’s developments.

The Lever Prize is judged by the North West Business Leadership Team (NWBLT) in partnership with Arts & Business. As the 2015 winners, the Real Life Science programme will receive a generous contribution of £10,000 and the opportunity to collaborate with some of the region’s most influential business leaders.

Museum specimen

“It was good to have the experts talk to us about their work” – Student feedback

Our successful Real Life Science programme encourages secondary and post-16 students to develop practical investigative skills through an array of science workshops, supported by Manchester Museum’s collection and displays. Currently we have strong links with academic research, with all of our workshops being delivered by scientists from across The University of Manchester. We are excited to work with the NWBLT to enhance this programme by incorporating cutting-edge applications of science in industry.

“Our demonstrator was very knowledgeable and delivered an excellent session” – Teacher feedback

In addition to enhancing existing sessions, we hope to introduce new innovative sessions based on real life industry examples, including topics such as:

Biomimicry – Engineering and science innovations inspired by nature

Sustainability –  Current issues challenging industry, modern solutions and eco-design 

We are very much looking forward to a productive year working with the NWBLT. So keep an eye out for updates on our progress and new opportunities during the year!

How do we make sense of war? A Museum-Whitworth Study Day

On Monday 24th November Manchester Museum hosted our first MuseumWhitworth collaborative study day – ‘Conflict: Making Sense of War‘. The aim of the day was to encourage students to discuss conflict in both the past and present, provide students with an understanding of conflict and stimulate a personal reaction to situations related to collections and artists responses.

The study day was prefaced by a short talk by our Curator of Living Cultures, Stephen Welsh, on the origins of our anthropological collection and some of the links these have to conflict. You can watch that video here.

IMG_0891On the day itself we were lucky to have a selection of students from three different colleges, studying Art, Fashion, History or Politics. After an introductory lecture by Professor Peter Gatrell, from University of Manchester’s School of Arts, Languages and Cultures students were encouraged to interact in various activities designed to get them thinking about how we respond to conflict – looking at art work, museum displays and text – and discuss their own reactions to various scenarios that represented conflict.

The talk by Peter Gatrell was well received, with students asking intelligent and thought-provoking questions. You can watch the entire talk, followed by the Q&A section below, or directly here. It provided students with a glimpse into how artists can interpret the facets of war and the discussions these pieces can produce – inclusive of the building of war memorials and the message they convey.

The afternoon session was shared by an external partner – In Place of War; an initiative that supports artists and creative communities living in sites of war, revolution and conflict to express themselves. Inés Soria-Donlan, Digital Manager for In Place of War, presented the idea of cultural activism through the arts as a way of responding to conflict. It was our colleagues from In Place of War that introduced us to our creative artist that led the final activity – Jun Tzu.

Jun Tzu – aka Jonathan Hamilton – is a Belfast born poet who has lived in Manchester since he was a teenager and writes material that deals directly with his experiences, many of which are linked with the history of conflict in Northern Ireland. He often uses his poetry to create rap and hip-hop songs, and recently brought out his debut album in 2014.

During the study day he was able to share his – and his family’s – experiences with the students and they engaged readily with his knowledge and position, benefiting from the direct and open approach Jun has. As an activity Jun asked each of the students to write a poem, supporting them with an approach he often uses as a starting point for his work. The students then performed these, demonstrating the mature and often complex responses to conflict that the day had stimulated. A few of which are shared below.

At the end of the day some of the comments we received about the day were really positive, see below.

[It was]…”Extremely beneficial – I learnt different views on certain aspects of conflict”

“Helpful – as [my view] was changed by listening to other people’s”

“Deeper discussions and questions – felt like we were only ever scratching the surface”

Students believed their analytical, critical thinking and writing skills all developed during the day and it prompted a number of questions that the students took away with them to continue discussions on the topic of conflict.

Does war create more beautiful art than peace?
Why is art so persistent in remaining through war?
Which information do we need to have to know what is really happening during a [conflict] event?
Can conflict ever be justified?
Is war really worth it?
Is propaganda the result of war?

All in all, it was a very successful day that we believe achieved all the aims we set out and encouraged those involved to express – and develop – their views about conflict given the significance of the centenary of World War War I this year. As a result, we hope to host another similar day in the Summer Term 2015.

If you would like to be informed of this date once it is set, please email to be put on our Post-16 mailing list.

Nature Discovery gallery for Under 5’s is now open!

At Manchester Museum, we have been redeveloping our Nature Discovery gallery as an imaginative space that encourages young children to lead their adults through an object rich exploration of the natural world. Young children will be able to search for creatures, create fantastical stories based on the natural world and immerse themselves in a series of habitats.

‘The Den’ provides a cosy reading area, with animals playfully hiding around the tree trunks.

‘The Meadow’ is full of light and colour, with plants, butterflies, insects and underground animals for children to find.

‘The Treetops’ showcases a variety of birds from our collection for children to spot.

‘The Forest’ is a beautiful and enchanting 3D paper ‘story book’ art installation, developed in collaboration with artist Helen Musselwhite. Between the paper cut trees, children and their adults can glimpse a variety of animals, from small insects to large creatures, highlighting the beauty and diversity of the natural world.

In 2015 we will be using the gallery to continue to develop our programmes for young children and their families, including Baby Explorers, Magic carpet and our Big Saturday family programmes. There will also be an opportunity to develop new programmes for Nursery, Reception and Y1 classes visiting the museum and to offer professional development sessions for teachers to explore the new space in order to plan their own visits.
Please check our Early Years page for updates in January.

Elaine Bates

Early Years coordinator