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.

sa-image

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.

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.

New school year – thinking about a trip?

Somewhat unbelievably (at least we think so – the year is flying by!), it’s September and the start of another school year. We’ve been gearing up to the 2013-14 academic year with a refurbishment and refreshment of our school programme from Early Years to Post 16 and a new look to the Learning Pages on Manchester Museuslothm website: http://www.manchester.ac.uk/museum/learning . You’ll still find many of the ever popular sessions like Egyptian Worlds (KS2), Dinosaur Detectives (KS2), Forensic Science: A Bog Body Mystery (KS3/4 Science) and Citizen of the City (KS3 Citizenship) but also a few new ones and some like Dinosaur Challenge for KS1 pupils that are coming soon.

Do take a look and let us know what you think. If you are starting your planning for the year ahead then take a look at the website and see what takes your fancy for you and your class. If you need more information on anything then either email us at school.bookings@manchester.ac.uk or give us a call on 0161 275 2630 – we start taking bookings on 5th September.

We’re really looking forward to a jam packed year of school visits (there’s nothing we like more) and to seeing many of you and your classes in the Museum. That’s the programme spruced up – now just the office to go!

Poll results

Results of the poll that I posted last month are below. As you can see, they are rather inconclusive (interesting nonetheless!).

why take a class to visit a museum

Note: The following responses were entered as ‘other’:

  • Inspiring staff, chance to share experiences and stories, bringing subject matter to the real world/ life connections, gaining empathy, enquiry and new experiences, creativity, museums aim to be fun, welcoming and enjoyed by all
  • To show them that the museum can be for them, and have something to offer them.
  • A comment that I’ve had from teachers is about relative sizes of things. e.g. how a sparrow is smaller than a crow – not obvious from watching a film or even from observing live birds as they move about & are at a distance.
  • It’s a good way to build relationships with students in a different environment.
  • Bringing the past to life – cliché but true. A shop with items from 50p upwards. What they choose might make them think about a return family visit.
  • Artefacts visually bring to life the learning & can introduce/ demonstrate so much more than a terms worth of lessons (I’m specifically thinking of Ancient Egypt & the British Museum).
  • Knowledge that the teachers don’t have or can obtain easily.
  • I work in an area of high unemployment and the chances of our children visiting a real museum without us taking them are quite slim so sometimes we try to find one that compliments our learning.
  • I take students to the museum which reflect aspects of our specification at A level. – Dinosaurs/strat/local geology etc. Also primary children for the wow factor
  • Handling real objects. Learning in a way that cannot be achieved in the classroom.

However, and as the responses to the ‘What is your role?’ question illustrate, only 7 teachers participated in the poll.

What is your role

This is not surprising, particularly considering my rather unscientific approach and the limited period over which the poll was open! I do intend to recirculate this poll again (or some version thereof) but I would really appreciate any suggestions regarding the matter of targeting teachers.

Alan Turing: Maths and Morphogenesis workshops

Want to know how maths is applied to the real world? Bring your KS4 students to our Alan Turing: Maths, Modelling and Morphogenesis maths session that accompanys our Alan Turing and Life’s Enigma exhibition to find out. Led by University mathematicians, this workshop explores mathematical modelling, and enables students to find out more about the pioneer of biological mathematics who lived right here in Manchester: Alan Turing and how he used maths to investigate the secrets of life. The 2 hour session is available at selected times on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays until 15th November 2012.

For AS/A2 biology and Maths students, we are running A-level study days that would be perfect for them to understand the link between these two subjects. One of our Engage with the Experts A-Level study days Alan Turing: Maths and Morphogenesis works with University researchers to unlock the mathematical mystery behind patterns in the natural world and discovers how Alan Turing began to tackle this problem. It is a full day (10am-3pm) on Monday 15th October 2012, Monday 22nd October 2012 and Tuesday 13th November 2012

If you would like any more information or would like to make a booking, please contact Alexa on alexa.jeanes@manchester.ac.uk or 0161 3061764.

Animal Explorers visit

On Thursday 24th May, a group of children, staff and parents from Wetherby street children’s centre, Openshaw, visited the museum for our early years animal Explorers session which was led by one of our freelance staff, Karl Harris .

Children from Wetherby children’s centre taking part in an animal explorer session

The session began in the Nature Discovery gallery with the story ‘Polar bear, Polar Bear, What do you hear ?’ ( Bill Martin junior and Eric Carle) and the group were fabulous at making all the animal noises, including the more unusual animals like the peacock and hippo! Then, dressed as animal explorers, complete with hats and binoculars and armed with a bag of ‘clues’, the group looked for the animals in the story on the Living Worlds gallery, Bird gallery and Vivarium. At the end of the session , Adam from the Vivarium brought one of the lizards down to meet the group. One of the children asked if the lizard had a name and as it doesn’t, he invited them to name it. They have suggested Fillip, Tigger or Mango Ba Jango – so watch this space!

Children from Wetherby children’s centre meet a friendly lizard from our Vivarium

Comments from parents who supported the visit, said that the museum was interesting with a wonderful atmosphere. One parent said her daughter is still talking about the visit and making animal sounds. She particularly liked the use of props and being able to touch live animals helped to deal with fears/phobias .

The staff agreed that children thoroughly enjoyed the visit and the timing of the session and variety of activities were  appropriate for the age of the children and held their interest.
The impact of the visit has been evident in the play and language the children are using back at the centre. When reading another story the children were able to identify the peacock from Polar bear, Polar Bear and they also remembered the letters and the animals being on holiday.
Most importantly they had lots of fun!
For further information about our early years programme, visit our website.
To make a booking, ring Jill Anderton, our bookings coordinator on 0161 275 2630

Early Years programmes

We are in the process of updating the early years page on our website and thought it would be useful to highlight our current programmes led by museum staff …

Sessions for Nursery and Reception
For up to 15 children (90 minutes)
£3.50 per child (minimum charge £50)

Animal Explorers – Polar Bear Polar Bear (New)

Polar Bear has a problem, some of his animal and bird friends have gone missing! Can you help him to find them? Come and explore our Living Worlds, bird gallery and vivarium as you embark on this exciting mission to find his missing friends.
At the end of the session there is an opportunity to meet one of our live animals from the vivarium!
You might be interested in looking at our Frog Blog

Dinosaur Explorers
Say hello to Stan the T.rex and become dinosaur hunters whilst following the footprints around the Fossils gallery. What will you uncover on our dinosaur dig?

Unearthed! Big Dig
Join us to explore the Unearthed : Ancient Egypt exhibition to find treasures of the Egyptian world! What exciting things will you discover?

For details of how to book, have a look at our early years page and information for teachers.
We are also able to book self programmed visits and offer resources for teachers.
To make a booking please ring our booking line on 0161 275 2630

Year 9 Free Workshop Offer

The Manchester Museum is offering a limited number of History workshops for free!

 

© The Trustees of the British Museum

Eurocentrism and Africa

 

Engage your Year 9 students in exploring the diversity of culture within Africa and encourage them to discuss what influence European contact had on local areas. Using Museum galleries and object handling students will have the chance to explore the relationship between Africa and Europe, with a focus on the preiod of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and during the height of British Empire.

 

 

FREE Sessions are available on the following dates:

Monday 7th November

10.30am-12.30pm

 Monday 14th November

1pm-3pm

Monday 28th November

1pm-3pm

Alternate dates and times are available on request, but may cost the usual workshop price of £75.

To find out more, or to book one of our limited FREE sessions, please contact Cat Lumb either via email: catherine.lumb@manchester.ac.uk or telephone: 0161 3061765.

Souvenirs for School groups…

Our commerical team have recently launched a combined Museum and Whitworth Gallery Shop Blog known as Culture Shop Manchester. The aim is to to provide a means for customers and visitors to find out what we have available in the forms of products and offers whilst giving the shops a living internet presence.

One of their first posts is about School Groups & Goodie Bags: so take a look if you want to know more and order some fantastic souvenirs for your students to remember their educational trip to the Museum!

No room at the inn?

Image, Students in our LifeLab

There’s a fantastic buzz in the museum’s galleries during term time. Children and young people of all ages and abilities are busy exploring the displays and developing their skills of inquiry and analysis. School groups are carefully coordinated by the Learning Team to ensure the best possible experience for every child.

The timetable is organised to provide each group with enough room for an enjoyable and meaningful visit. A quick glance at the website will tell you that we offer guided visits and workshops on a wide range of subjects for the whole age range, from Early Years to post-16. To be fair to everyone this inevitably means that spaces and time slots have to be rationed. We recommend that teachers plan as far ahead as possible and book the visit early to avoid disappointment but, like any other popular service or facility, we sometimes find ourselves in the situation where we can’t offer the dates and times when people would like to book a visit to the museum. We hate to turn schools away but when the timetable is full adding more groups would compromise the quality of experience for everyone.

Image, Students being taught on the Pre-historic Life Gallery

So what’s a teacher to do when the museum says it’s full? There is an answer. Over the past six or seven years museums and galleries around the country have been boosting the quality of the service to schools with the help of Renaissance in the Regions, a government-funded programme of staff training, collections development and improvements to facilities.

The Manchester Museum is part of the ‘Northwest Hub’ – a group of institutions dedicated to sharing good practice and professional development. The region’s museums and galleries are tuned in to the changing curriculum and develop programmes in partnership with teachers and pupils. Of course each museum or gallery has different collections and teachers want their students to see particular objects – you wouldn’t expect to study the ancient Egyptians in a science museum or vice versa (although cross-disciplinary learning is exactly where museums and galleries excel so I wouldn’t discount the idea!). One result of Renaissance in the Regions is that we can now consistently offer high quality alternatives for learning in most subject areas across the wider group of museums and galleries. Teachers looking for a relevant, engaging and productive cultural experience now have a better choice than ever, which is why we are happy to recommend our colleagues in other venues if we are unable to accommodate a group at The Manchester Museum.