The end of my museum placement

Luke_Placement_final dayGuest blog by Luke Jarrett, Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) Animal Behaviour undergraduate student

Hello it’s Luke again I know it’s been a while since my last blog, but I have been on placement with the Learning Team here at Manchester Museum for the past nine months. I thought I would share some of my highlights and some of the things I have learnt whilst being here at Manchester Museum.

I will start off with one of the things I am most proud about that I have done since being here at the Museum, which is the fact that I created a self-guided resource from scratch for one of the Museum’s Enrichment days. The brief I was given was to create a self-guided resource for year 7 based on biomimicry in the Living Worlds gallery. The most fun and also the hardest part of making this activity was my idea of creating three riddles for the three animals which the pupils had to find on gallery. Within each riddle there was a clue to what the animal was and where you could find it within the Museum gallery. My favourite was the riddle “I spend my life swimming in the sea but it makes me very tired so now I just hang out in the gallery. What am I?” – can you guess which specimen on the Living Worlds gallery this relates to? After the Enrichment day the feedback I got from this activity was more than I could have hoped for from both students and teachers alike, it was all positive with some students and teachers saying it was their favourite activity from the whole Enrichment day.

Inflatable MuseumAnother thing I have been involved in during my nine months here at the Museum which I have loved has been the outreach visits to local schools. The main form of outreach I have experienced is the Inflatable Museum which is exactly what it sounds like. It is a big pop-up museum which we take to local schools that can’t make it to the Museum and run a session for the kids inside it. This also helped me develop my understanding and improved my use of the Museum’s main way of teaching which is enquiry based learning.

So over the last nine months I have learnt so much from using enquiry based learning effectively to that full dinosaur skeletons on display are normally casts of the bones and not the real thing (I know my mind was blown too). I feel like this placement has been fantastic for me as a person and my future, as I have learnt so much which I couldn’t have learnt if I hadn’t come on placement. Such as my presentation skills and working with not only the public but different age groups and being able to change my language dependent on my audience.  This placement has got me thinking about going into something similar to this but within zoos as I see that as the perfect mix between this placement, the skills I have gained from it and my animal behaviour degree.  So I would just like to thank Manchester Museum’s Learning Team for putting up with me stealing their computers and my supervisor Emily for having me on placement and for teaching me and helping me develop my skills.

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