Summer Bookings and Future Plans

Wow! We’re amazed to say that the Primary Learning Programme here at Manchester Museum is now almost booked up for the entire summer term.

We host over 30,000 school pupils every year in the Museum, in our curriculum-linked workshops and in activities led by class teachers themselves. The popularity of our Learning Programme is testament to the hard work of countless people: Learning Team members past and present for developing and delivering the workshops, our Visitor Team for their help in making the visits run so smoothly, and curators for providing inspiring displays and exhibitions.

Unfortunately, we do turn away thousands of children every year because we just don’t have capacity for everyone. Our focus is always on providing an amazing experience for all visitors, and too many bookings can make the building overcrowded and hinder everyone’s enjoyment – including that of our schools.

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Luckily, we have a plan! We are currently in a final stages of submitting for HLF funding for our Courtyard Project, which will transform the Museum with a major two-storey extension, a new main entrance, and much-improved visitor facilities inspired by a new ethos of a ‘museum for life.’ It will also enable us to accommodate thousands of extra visitors each year, and help us meet the ever-increasing demand for our Learning programme. Please follow the Learning blog and our Twitter to get the latest information about how building work will affect school visits in the coming years.

We know it will be disappointing that you can’t visit this term. Bookings are now open for September 2017-March 2018, so do get next year’s trip booked in now.

You might also be interested in our Inflatable Museum, an inspiring new outreach offer designed to bring the wonder and curiosity of the Museum to your school hall.

We hope we’ll see you again soon!

Amy McDowall, Primary Learning Coordinator
amy.mcdowall@manchester.ac.uk / 0161 275 7357

P.S. We still have availability for Secondary and Post-16 groups.

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Come to the Museum to be Rainforest Investigators!

Today we officially launch our exciting new ‘Rainforest Investigators’ session here at the Manchester Museum. This a brand new environmental education session based on the differing rainforest habitats and developed for Key Stage 2 pupils, which is for upper primary/age 7-11 year olds. It links strongly to National Curriculum Year 4 Science ‘Living things and […]

via Rainforest Investigators — FROG BLOG MANCHESTER

Journeys across the sea and beyond: talking about current issues at Manchester Museum

You might notice on your next visit to the Museum that we have some new additions to our displays.

Our curators are thinking a lot about contemporary collecting and how we as an organisation respond to current issues such as climate change and migration.

Some of our new installations might raise some complex feelings in some of your pupils, so we wanted you to be aware in advance of some of the things you may encounter on your visit and suggest how you might want to utilise these objects to start conversations with your pupils about the issues they highlight.

Refugee Lifejacket

Life jacket from Lesvos on display at Manchester Museum

Refugee’s lifejacket from Lesvos in the entrance of Manchester Museum

For example, a refugee’s lifejacket, from the Greek island of Lesvos,  has recently gone on display in the main entrance. As Bryan Sitch, a curator here, has said:

“Our mission is to promote understanding between different cultures and to work towards a more sustainable world … We hope that this work will help us to reach out to Syrian members of the community as well as other diaspora communities.”

Visitors can watch a video about how the life jacket was collected and engage in discussion about it on Twitter via  .

We are aware that some of the stories and images linked to this object (though not displayed with it) could be upsetting for some children. However, Amnesty International have some excellent expert guidance on how to discuss these issues with older children, which you may want to introduce before a visit to the Museum.

Child migrant stories, a resource about the experiences of child migrants today and in the past, may also be useful.

We believe that the object on its own should not be upsetting unless a child has a particular related personal experience.

‘Nu Shabtis’ Journeys

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Examples of Zahed Taj-Eddin’s ‘Nu Shabtis’ outside Manchester Museum

From the end of March, our Graeco-Roman Egyptian Portraits and Egyptian Worlds galleries will be temporarily home instead to an installation by a Syrian-born artist,  Zahed Taj-Eddin.

Zahed’s ‘Nu Shabtis’ are inspired by the common Egyptian tomb item, the shabti (sometimes known as ushabtis). Classes who take part in our Egyptian Worlds workshop will encounter real shabtis close up: they are the servants of the afterlife, placed in tombs to work for the deceased.

But Zahed’s ‘Nu Shabtis’ are new works of art made of beautiful bright blue faience. Part of the installation sees the Nu Shabtis suspended from the Egyptian Worlds gallery ceiling. The work reflects on the experience of migrants travelling across the Mediterranean towards a new life, much as the ancient Egyptians believed their shabtis would have travelled over to the afterlife.

They present an accessible way to help children think about human stories of journeys. What makes us leave a place? What makes us stay? What do we believe about our future? What do we believe about life after death? Again, the resources from Amnesty International might help you explore this with your pupils.

Seeing the works as artefacts and as works of art, you could look at similarities and differences between the ancient shabtis and Nu Shabtis. How do we know which are ancient and which are modern? Why would an artist be inspired by the ancient? What was Zahed’s purpose in drawing parallels between old and new objects and stories? Are the pupils inspired by anything in the Museum to create their own works of art?

Please note that the Nu Shabti installation will mean that our Graeco-Roman Mummies and Portraits will not be on display until July.

We would love to hear your stories of how you have used either of these installations with your classes and how they responded to them. 

If you have any questions or concerns about these displays, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us:

Amy McDowall – Primary Learning Coordinator

Cat Lumb – Secondary and Post-16 Arts & Humanities Coordinator

 

 

‘Extinction or Survival?’ – new video resource for schools

We have a new and exciting resource to share with you today, created by 60 Year 3 children from Crab Lane Community Primary School in Crumpsall.

This short video is designed to be used inside the  fabulous ‘Extinction or Survival?’ exhibition, at Manchester Museum until 20 April 2017.

The exhibition contains some difficult stories about the many species that are no longer with us, from the dodo to the Tasmanian tiger. But it also tells a story of hope: what can we do to help endangered species?

It will be of special interest to KS2 teachers who are working on ‘Living Things and their Habitats’.

To use the video, we recommend bringing tablets to the Museum and sharing them between small groups of children with an adult. You can load the video via this page, and pause it each time you see the name of a species to allow you time to find it in the exhibition. You can also pause at the ‘Over to you’ questions, as a chance to get the children thinking more deeply about the exhibition’s themes. The video can also be used outside the Museum if needed.

The children of Crab Lane would love to know what you think of their video! Let us know  by adding a comment below.

If you would like to visit ‘Extinction or Survival?’ you can do so for free, but please let us know you are coming by completing the booking enquiry form on our website. This helps ensure a great experience for you and for the other schools visiting our (very busy!) museum that day. You might also want to consider our popular KS2 session ‘Habitats and You’.

The story behind the video …

Every year, Kids in Museums ‘Takeover Day’ invites children into meaningful roles in museums and galleries. As our ‘Extinction or Survival?’ exhibition was due to open in September 2016, we thought it would be great if some children could create a really useful resource for other schools visiting the exhibition.

Using  contacts through the wonderful Schools Network Choir, we found two Year 3 teachers from Crab Lane who were really excited to do something a bit different with their classes that term.

We met up and planned an amazing series of activities for the kids: first, both classes came separately to visit the museum, to research the exhibition and to learn what makes a great tour. We all practised saying in big loud voices, “WELCOME TO MANCHESTER MUSEUM!!!”

Then, back in school, the children worked in small groups with their teachers to devise their own tours. This means that the tours are all the children’s own words – amazing.

In the meantime, staff at the Museum were busy arranging loads of great activities for Takeover Day itself. Almost every department was involved, from conservation and collections to marketing, volunteers and even the Vivarium team!

368c259d-4466-4d5e-ad31-f54c4674b335On 18 November – a cold and snowy day – all 60 kids descended on the Museum for a pretty full-on day! All the children gave their tours LIVE for members of the  public. This was incredibly brave but they had lovely clear voices and even took questions from the audience! They were also total pros being filmed by Steve from the Museum.

As well as their tours, the kids made a giant rainforest collage, helped clean objects in the conservation studios, went behind the scenes in the Entomology stores, and welcomed visitors.

At the very end of the day, all the children said they would love to work in a museum when they grow up. We can’t wait!

Manchester Museum would like to say a huge THANK YOU to all the children, teachers and other staff involved in making the project such a success. We hope you enjoy their video!

South Asia TeachMeet – what we learnt

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On 7 December, we hosted our first South Asia-themed TeachMeet event, launching our future work on the South Asia gallery as part of the HLF Courtyard Project.

It was a fabulous evening with some amazing speakers, experts and creative practitioners sharing ideas and inspiration for teachers from across Greater Manchester. The teachers attending had some really great insights into what they would find valuable in a future learning programme linked to the new gallery, quote of the night being “It’s about time Manchester had a South Asia gallery!”

Below is a flavour of what we all learnt about … in alphabetical order by school/organisation (where applicable) for ease!

If you are a primary or early years teacher, and have not already completed our survey about our future programme, we’d be very grateful if you could do so here.

Anjum Anwar MBE

Anjum is an educator who has worked for many years in the fields of interfaith understanding for both the Lancashire Council of Mosques and Blackburn Cathedral. She presented a passionate argument for schools to not shy away from these difficult conversations. Website coming soon.

Bhangracise

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Our night finished with Bhangracise! Bhangracise have been teaching, performing and advancing the art form of Bhangra dancing for over 12 years. They provide performances, fitness classes and school workshops across the UK. Find them on Twitter @Bhangracise.

Blackburn Museum

Stephen Irwin from Blackburn Museum spoke about his fantastic film project  about the contribution of Indian soldiers in WW2. “We Also Served” records the journey of a group of young people from Blackburn in trying to uncover the forgotten story of the Indian Army. More information about Blackburn Museum, and contact details for Steve, can be found here.

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British Council

The British Council attended to share information with teachers about their ‘Connecting Classrooms’ programme: “Connecting Classrooms is a fully funded learning journey that includes face-to-face and online courses, international professional partnerships and visit funding opportunities based around the core skills.” See their poster, flyer and website for more information.

Chorlton High School

Chorlton High School is a Heritage School. Natalie Sanderson, Assistant Curriculum Leader at CHS, has spearheaded a fantastic project – ‘My Mancunium’ with their Year 7s, examining the many diffrent communities who have migrated to Manchester from Roman times onwards. The project is cross-curricular and enables pupils from this multicultural school to understand the push/pull factors in migration and feel pride in their city. Contact Natalie on twitter @historicalsando.

Computeam

Computeam create incredible virtual and augmented reality resources for schools and were speaking to teachers about how the Indus Valley might be incorporated into their amazing Active Worksheets series. See them on Twitter @computeam.

Equilibrium Dance Arts

Equilibrium Dance and Arts is a social enterprise whose objective is to integrate dance, arts, mental health & well-being and research. Gaya from EDA joined us from Dubai via Skype to share her PHD research on dance in education, and teach us a few moves! You can contact Gaya via Facebook  and Twitter.

Kingsway Community Trust

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Rumana Asif and the Kingsway Community Trust were presented at the TeachMeet with a first-of-its-kind award from the British Council for ‘outstanding development of the international dimension in the curriculum’. Amazing! They incorporate the British Council’s connecting classrooms in all areas of school life at every age.

Manchester Road Primary Academy

Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, Year 1 teacher Anthony Parker is piloting a new cross-curricular topic with his class on India. They will cover geography and history, a ‘significant individual’ and even cricket in PE! In the future he will be able to bring his class to the Museum to see real artefacts from Indian history. Contact him on twitter @Anthillel.

Rubbia Ullah

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Rubbia is an experienced art practitioner in museum, gallery, heritage and other settings. Her art is often inspired by South Asian techniques and practices. At the TeachMeet she shared with us techniques of basket weaving, printing and making clay pots.

Southern Voices

Southern Voices is a network of people committed to bringing the knowledge and understanding of Southern* and Black* people to the global issues that are central to education and to living in the world today. Kirit presented information about their fascinating HLF project about the impact of WW1 on colonised peoples. Southern Voices can offer ‘free’ sessions on this for schools by experienced practitioners. Email Kirit for more details.

St Marys RC Primary

The Indus Valley Civilisation – a bronze age civilisation in what is now Pakistan – is an often-overlooked alternative to ancient Egypt in the KS2 curriculum. Mark Chadwick teaches this as a fascinating (and messy!) contrast to both Egypt and prehistoric Britain to his Year 3 class.

The University of Manchester School of Arts, Languages and Cultures

Dr John Zavos and Dr Jacqueline Suthren Hirst are experts in South Asian history and religions, especially Hinduism. The TAROSA website is an excellent resource for challenging popular notions of Hinduism with older students, and the Museum of the South Asian Diaspora could support a topic on migration.

The University of Manchester School of Sociology

Professor Claire Alexander has received a University of Manchester award for ‘Outstanding benefit to society through research’. She spoke about the fantastic projects that won her this award: Banglastories, Making Histories and Our Migration Story. These are great resources and also give guidelines for teachers wanting their pupils to become oral historians.

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South Asia TeachMeet

tmsouthasialandscapeWe are very excited to announce that we will be hosting an after-hours TeachMeet on 7 December  at Manchester Museum. South Asia-inspired artists, teachers, speakers and organisations will be here in The Study to share a wealth of ideas and projects at this unique event.

Speakers and experts include:

  • Prof. Claire Alexander, University of Manchester – South Asian identity and migration; oral history with young people
  • Dr John Zavos and Dr Jacqueline Suthren Hirst, University of Manchester – experts in South Asian history and religions respectively
  • Mark Chadwick – St Mary’s Primary – the Indus Valley Civilisation
  • Anjum Anwar MBE – interfaith dialogue in schools
  • Dr Gayathri Ganapathy – storytelling and cognition through South Asian dance
  • British Council – ‘Connecting Classrooms’ global education programme
  • Blackburn Museum – film project on India’s role in WW2
  • Sophie Marshall – Irk Valley Primary – RE in the Early Years

The event is also your opportunity to learn more about how teachers can be involved in our upcoming capital redevelopment known as the Courtyard Project; in particular relating to the new South Asia gallery which is planned for 2020 in a landmark partnership with the British Museum.

Come and escape the festive madness and get fresh ideas and inspiration for the New Year and beyond!

Free refreshments will be provided.

Limited tickets are available here – book now to avoid disappointment! 

Please contact amy.mcdowall@manchester.ac.uk / 0161 2757357 with any questions or if you would like to speak at the event.

We look forward to seeing you then!

Primary teachers: Manchester Museum Needs You! (for 2 minutes)

 

As you may have heard, Manchester Museum is embarking on an exciting capital redevelopment known as the Courtyard Project. We want to make sure the new galleries and display spaces – especially the South Asia gallery – meet the needs of primary teachers across Greater Manchester and beyond:

  • Have you always wanted to study a different Ancient Civilisation to Egypt?
  • Do you want to celebrate South Asian influence in your community?
  • Is there a new way of learning about world religions?
  • Is lunch space essential for your school trips?

Now is your chance to have your say!

If you are a primary or early years teacher, we would delighted if you could spare 2 minutes to complete our short survey here.

We are also looking for expressions of interest for a TeachMeet here on the evening of 7 December around the theme of South Asia. If you’ve had a great project, activity, topic or event linked to South Asia (early years, primary or secondary) and would like to be involved, please contact the Primary Learning Coordinator Amy McDowall.

THANK YOU!

 

Ancient Egyptian Deep Clean!

It has been a busy summer at the Museum with a huge number of exciting activities linked to our latest temporary exhibition, Climate Control.

Here in the Learning Team, we are now beavering away getting ready to welcome lots more schools in September.

As part of this preparation, we check that all the Museum objects that are handled by children are safe and in good condition.

These photos show Matt (from the Learning Team) and Irit (a Conservator) checking out the ancient Egyptian objects. Although all our school visitors are wonderfully careful with the artefacts, the ancient Egyptian items do have a particularly hard time as they are handled by tens of thousands of small hands every term!

Have a good look at the ‘before’ picture of the fish votive (temple offering) that Irit is holding. Can you see what colour it is? What do you think it is made from? Is it patterned or plain? We’ll come back to the fish later!

Over the last few weeks, Irit has examined all the objects carefully and cleaned them where needed with swabs, water and rubbing alcohol.

Irit was really pleased with the condition of the objects and commented on how carefully the children must have been handling them on the Egyptian Worlds visits. Just one item (a wooden ear from a coffin) is going to go back into storage, to be replaced with a different possible tomb item.

 

fish votive

Remember that fish votive? Can you see the difference? It’s actually patterned and made of bronze! Irit’s careful cleaning has revealed the beautiful scaled pattern again. It is still mostly brown as it is slightly rusty, but we expect that the acid in the children’s hands this term will naturally polish it up again soon. We’ll let you know!

Handling real objects is such an important part of the ‘wow factor’ of visiting a museum, so we are really looking forward to sharing these exciting artefacts with many more schools this year.

We get booked up quite far in advance, but we do still have a few slots available for later in the autumn term so get your bookings in quickly by filling in our enquiry form to avoid disappointment! See here for our information about our schools programme. We hope to welcome you in the Museum soon.

Lovely to meet you!

Campbell and Amy

Amy meeting Campbell Price, Curator of Egypt and Sudan at Manchester Museum

My name is Amy and I’m the new Primary Learning Coordinator here at Manchester Museum. I have so far spent two weeks getting to know the building, the collection, the fantastic team here and – mostly importantly – the awesome schools programme! It’s a great time of year to start as we are all gearing up ready for the return of schools in September.

You’ll hear more from me in the coming weeks, but for now I thought I’d share the top 5 things I’ve learnt about Manchester Museum so far …

  • It’s a very smiley place!! Everyone here clearly loves their jobs and is delighted to work in such an inspiring place. Even the frogs seem to grin!

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  • There’s LOADS going on here – far too much for one blog post! To give you a flavour, in the next year the Learning Team will be consulting with schools on our planned building extension; taking part in activities relating to the UK/India Year of Culture; planning TeachMeets and CPD for teachers … the list goes on!

 

  • Ancient Egypt is REALLY popular! Asru, one of the ancient Egyptian mummies on display in our Ancient Worlds gallery, is the star of our most popular primary school session, ‘Egyptian Worlds’. And rightly so – she gives kids a fascinating insight into a key feature of this amazing civilisation. (However, if any schools out there cover the Indus Valley as their ancient civilisation in KS2 History, instead of Egypt, we would love to hear from you!)
  • This team is pretty good at what it does: the stack of letters we receive from inspired children really shows how memorable museum learning can be, and last year well over 90% of our visiting teachers rated us as having “excellent” quality of delivery. Not bad across 30,000 annual school visitors!

 

  • The Museum is a BIG building with LOTS of stairs – wish me luck in finding my way around!!

That’s all from me for now. If you’d like to get in touch to discuss any aspect of our primary schools programme, please do so on 0161 275 7357 or amy.mcdowall@manchester.ac.uk. I look forward to meeting lots of you soon!