Evaluation Consultant Needed for HLF Funded Ancient Worlds Galleries

8158058348_5b8802721f 8157991179_5ea633f483 Ancient Worlds GalleriesManchester Museum is seeking an Evaluation Consultant to devise and implement a robust evaluation strategy to measure the impact of the Museum’s recent Ancient Worlds Galleries redevelopment. Ancient Worlds transformed the displays in three of the Museum’s galleries which are dedicated to archaeology and ancient Egypt. Opened in October 2012, at a cost of c. £1.5 million, the project has been funded with the support of several key external funders, including a significant grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

We now require an evaluation expert to assist us in assessing the extent to which we have met our original objectives for the redevelopment and in measuring the impact of the project upon the Museum’s diverse audiences. In addition to focusing upon the new galleries themselves, the evaluation process will also encompass the associated Activity Plan of events (public programmes, learning sessions, community engagement initiatives, etc.) which have taken place in these spaces since they reopened.

You can find more details here: Ancient Worlds Evaluation Consultant Brief

The successful applicant would be required to start around w/c 14th October 2013 and the full external evaluation report would need to be produced and submitted to the Museum by 16th December 2013.


Ancient Worlds Teacher Preview

With the opening of our new Ancient World Galleries the Museum’s Learning Team are pleased to announce that we will be hosting a Teacher Preview event to introduce teacher’s to our brand new galleries and associated learning programmes across the Key Stages.

This event will take place on Wednesday 14th November between 4.30 and 6.30pm. There will be a short introduction by our Learning Manager, followed by optional tours of the gallery spaces with our Curators. In addition our entire team will be present, allowing teachers to ask questions, learn about our new sessions and even register their interest in booking workshops on offer.


Our temporary exhibition, Breed:The British and their Dogs, will also be open and our Resources and Secondary workshop for this gallery will also be on show.

To book your space on the Preview Event email our bookings co-ordinator on school.bookings@manchester.ac.uk or call 0161 3052630.

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.

Ancient Worlds and Current Programmes

Most of my time this month has been spent on reviewing our Secondary workshops in order to make the most of our upcoming Ancient Worlds development and the fantastic opportunities for Key Stage Three and Four students to engage with the collection here.  Topics to explore include Archaeology, Empire and Identity with the chance to develop student’s interpretation and enquiry skills as well as utilising critical thinking whilst investigating objects as direct evidence of the past.

The new galleries are going to give visitors a great overview of Archaeology and the contributions that our diverse collection of objects can make to our understanding of the past, in addition to analysing the different techniques used to explore this past. We’ve also got a spotlight on ancient Egypt as an Empire with a focus on examining the daily lives of specific individuals such as pyramid builders and will even include Asru, our temple priestess. There will be a very different approach to interpreting Egypt presented in this gallery, with the museum exploring how the ancient Egyptians themselves viewed their country and also how Egypt is an African civilisation influenced by surrounding cultures. The final gallery, upstairs, will be possibly the most visually stunning and potentially the most likely to adapt over the coming years: visible storage areas will be created, current research will be presented and themes will be explored in addition to object biographies to make sense of various parts of  the collection.

To follow the progress, or find out more, check out the Ancient Worlds blog for more details.

Right now, having worked through some of the workshops and identified the potential links for the Secondary sessions, I’m really excited about the possibilities and opportunities the Ancient Worlds galleries will present for students and their teachers. The galleries will, in conjuction with the other permenant exhibitions here at the Museum, engage students with their curriculum subjects and hopefully provide them with a memorable experience to help them learn about the past, the present and even influence their own future.

Ancient Worlds development is moving along quickly!


Do you remember this object? It has been on display in our previous permenant Egyptian gallery for many years.This picture was taken by a Gifted and Talented pupil from Oswald Road Primary School right here in Manchester. What do you think it is?

I’m currently working on how the new primary taught sessions here can engage, excite and allow young people to explore the galleries and their fascinating objects to find out for themselves how past civilisations used to live.

It’s a very creative time, lots of ‘thinking BIG!’ and learning from what has worked, or not(!)  in the past to make it a truly interactive, explorative and stimulating learning experience for all.

Hope to see you in the new galleries in November!

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

GCSE and A-Level Geology workshops

During the past few months, we have seen a surge of interest in our GCSE and A-Level Geology offer.  It is great to see students fascinated by our specimens and engaging with museum experts, such as our Curator of Earth Sciences David Gelsthorpe. We have a selection of different geology workshops that can be tailored to meet the needs of specific groups, from Understanding and Interpreting Fossils, Trilobites and Exceptional Preservation.  For the full menu of session available, please see our website.  Workshops can also be supplemented with wow-factor fossil session and gallery tours as required. 

We have welcomed Altrincham Boys Grammar School, Aquinas College and Balshaw High School to the museum over the past few months.  Below are a few pictures of the workshops in action.  If you would like to book any of our Geology workshops, please do get in touch.

Alan Turing and Life’s Enigma Exhibition

Our latest exhibition ‘Alan Turing and Life’s Enigma’ opened at the end of March.   The exhibition coincides with 2012 Turing Centenary Year, celebrating 100 years since Turings birth. Alan Turing is known to most people as a mathematician and pioneer of computing, as well as being a significant part in the solving of the Enigma code at Bletchley Park during WW2.  However the main focus of this exhibition is his work relating to biology, specifically to his fascination of how pattern, shape and form appear in nature, in a process known as morphogenesis.  In 1952, Turing published this work in a paper (The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis) describing a model showing how these patterns could develop from the interactions of two chemicals. The new exhibition combines material used by Turing during his research time in Manchester with objects from the Museum’s extensive natural science collection.  The exhibition is in our 3rd floor exhibition space and runs until 18 November 2012.

As with all our exhibitions, we are developing a learning offer to allow students to explore further the ideas in the display.  Due to the high level content, we are planning a KS4 workshop and a series of Turing related A-Level Study Days, during the summer and autumn term.  Initial details of the workshops are below:

Maths/Science Turing workshop for KS4 – 2 hours, £75

This hands- on, interactive workshop will allow students to explore the scientific contribution of Alan Turings work.  Students will investigate how codes were used in early computing, the numerical patterns found in nature, and how it links to the Fibonacci sequence.  Though facilitated  learning on the new ‘Alan Turing and Life’s Enigma’ exhibition and getting up close to the museums collection, this session shows applications of maths to the natural world and cleverly links both science and maths curriculum.

Turing A-Level Study day, part of Engage with the Experts series (Full day) £150

Through a series of talks by University of Manchester Academics, hands – on activities and debates, your students will discover how their A-Level studies relates the last work of the famous scientist Alan Turing.  They will find out more about embryonic development, morphogenesis and pattern formation in living things and the Maths behind ‘Patterns in Nature’. 

We will be offering a few sessions free of charge during the trial phase (May/June/July), so if you are interested in this offer, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

You can get involved with your own Turing experiment, by growing a Turing Sunflower

Museums of Museums Fundraiser

On Thurs 27 Jan from 5pm until midnight there is going to be a fantastic fundraiser event with King Tut to raise money for The Manchester Museum’s Ancient Worlds galleries. Come along to the Museum of Museums, at the Trafford Centre to see this spectacular exhibition, Tutankhamun – His Tomb and His Treasures, where this extra special event will  taking place on 27 Jan 2011.


Museum of Museums Night will celebrate all things Ancient Egyptian to support fundraising for The Manchester Museum’s Ancient Worlds galleries and will offer discounted entry to the exhibition.

The evening will feature guest appearances – including an exclusive book signing by the creator of the acclaimed children’s books, Horrible Histories, Terry Deary, who will sign copies of his books ‘Awful Egyptians’, ‘The Terrible Tomb of Tutankhamun’ and ‘Magic and the Mummy’. There will also be music, eye-opener tours, food and drink, a display of The Manchester Museum’s own artefacts plus much more!

There will also be a grand prize draw – offering visitors the chance to win the spectacular book, A Secret Voyage, by world renowned Egyptologist, Dr Zahi Hawass. The stunning collection of photography, history and notes is a limited edition and usually retails at £2,600. Prize draw tokens are available to buy for just £10 at the Tutankhamun box office on the night.

All proceeds go towards fundraising for the Ancient Worlds galleries.
Phone 0844 249 1000 or Book online (and find out more), adults: £8, children: £4, family (2 adults, 2 children): £20, students: £4

Exciting Science Stuff in Dublin!

Image - Outside of the Natural History Museum, Dublin

As you have heard from Cat, the secondary and post-16 team went to Dublin on a CPD trip for a few days to see how they ‘did’ museums and galleries across the water.  As science is my thing, I thought I’d tell you a bit more about the sciencey side of what we saw……

Our second stop after we arrived was Natural History Museum, part of the National Museum of Ireland.  In a beautiful traditional stone building was a really quite spectacular collection of animals that made us all gasp when we first entered.  On the first floor was the ‘Mammals of the World’ gallery that had been recently restored back to its former glory.

Image - Louise and zebra

The animals were presented in a traditional way, both behind glass and free on display, but it was the sheer number of specimens all packed together that gave this gallery the wow factor!  There were animals as far as you can see, from floor to ceiling and in every nook and cranny, including a massive Bow whale hanging from the ceiling.  The huge number of antelope heads mounted on the wall around the room gave it a bit of a feel of a hunter’s trophy cabinet, but it was far more impressive than that.  My particular favourite was the beautiful grey wolf and the HUGE grizzly bear, that prompted people walking past to exclaim ‘Bear’s aren’t really that big, are they?!’  Actually they are!  Unfortunately the upper floors were closed (due to health and safety reasons!) which was shame because you could look up and see the numerous specimens from a distance on the balconies but were unable to get a closer look.

Image - Impressive Irish fauna

On the ground floor, was the ‘Irish Fauna’ gallery which is dedicated to Irish animals, featuring giant deer skeletons and a variety of mammals, birds and fish.  This gallery wasn’t quite  as spectacular as the one upstairs ,but it was still interesting to see the range and variety of wildlife that can be found in and around Ireland.

Image - Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef

The last museum/gallery we visited in Dublin on our trip before we flew home was definitely my favourite!  It was the Science Gallery, an initiative of Trinity College Dublin.  This is a new type of venue where science and art collide and it ‘aims to involve, ignite and transform curious minds through science through exhibitions, experiments and events’ and it certainly does that!

The exhibition that we were lucky enough to see whilst we were there was the beautiful ‘Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef’.  This touring exhibition was originally created by Margret and Christine Wertheim at the Institute for Figuring in Los Angeles, but as the reef has moved around the globe, its content has expanded with contributions from local communities.  The Science Gallery has enhanced the project even further by adding an ‘Irish Reef’ and the Mathematics chapel that explains all about the concept of hyperbolic space.  The gallery mediators also did their part, by crocheting bits of coral themselves when not directly talking to people.  They are hoping to add their contributions to the reef before it moves on.

Image - Irish Reef

After a comical set of confused exchanges between ourselves and someone looking for some ‘guys’ from Manchester, we were lucky enough to have a chat to their exhibitions manager Rob Warren over coffee.  We quizzed him about the way that they work with artists to create such dynamic and innovative exhibitions and he was also very interested in the work we do in the museum, working with scientists to deliver exciting educational sessions for school students.  It was a very rewarding conversation that left us all with a real admiration of the vision that the science gallery has.

Their next exhibition is ‘Biorhythm: Music and the Body’, which explores the physics, neuroscience and mechanics of music! Sounds fascinating, we may have to go back to Dublin to see it…..