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.

Advertisements

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!

lemur image

  • 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!

 

Student Consultant Opportunity – the Study, Manchester Museum

The Study_logo_Black(1)

Student Consultants

Manchester Museum Volunteer Opportunity

At Manchester Museum, we are creating an exciting new space ‘The Study’ which aims to inspire researchers of all ages, from curious teenagers to amateur enthusiasts. We are looking for University student volunteers to collaborate with staff on the development of a new volunteer role to support this space, help shape our student launch event in September and advise us as we finalise our plans for the gallery and recruit a core team of student volunteers who will inspire visitors in this unique learning environment.

Overview of role:

  • Advise staff on subject matter, content and marketing/branding for ‘The Study’
  • Collaborate with Museum staff on the development of new volunteer role
  • Help shape and plan our student launch event in September
  • Draw on knowledge, interests and skills to offer staff an insight into student life which will

inform the way we engage with students

  • Assist with the promotion of opportunities and events to fellow students

Opportunities as a volunteer:

  • Be involved in a unique opportunity to play a critical role in shaping a permanent Museum

space

  • Collaborate with staff from across the Museum’s departments
  • Gain insight into learning, exhibitions and programming in museums
  • Meet new people and develop a range of skills including communication and team work
  • To become part of the highly valued Museum Volunteer team with opportunities to attend

further training and development, and to attend social events and private views

What we would like you to bring to ‘The Study’:

  • A passion for learning and desire to share knowledge with others
  • Independent and quirky approach to work
  • New perspective and fresh ideas
  • Strong links to the student community
  • Students from all Universities and subjects areas are welcome
  • 6 months commitment

Reports to:

Volunteer Coordinator & Student Engagement Coordinator

Commitment:

We would like volunteers to commit to 2 hours every fortnight over the summer period, with the opportunity for a regular volunteer session in ‘The Study’ from September onwards

Please contact Kate Glynn by 7.6.15 to register your interest

Kate.Glynn@manchester.ac.uk

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 catherine.lumb@manchester.ac.uk to be put on our Post-16 mailing list.

Manchester Museum Camp

DSC_7073On Friday 13 June 2014 the Museum welcomed a group of young adults from the Charity Pure Innovations – who support people with a disability and disadvantaged groups to lead better lives.

The group have all completed their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award and are now embarking on their Duke of Edinburgh, Silver Award.

Some members of the group had never camped away from home or with their peers before.

As part of their award the adventurous, excited young adults, arrived at the Museum at 7 pm on the eve of a full moon to sleep overnight in the Museum.

On arrival they set up camp, and got acquainted with their surroundings.

They enjoyed and participated in a series of activities from torch lit tours, to building pyramids, to handling ancient Egyptian artefacts and taking digital photographs of their favourite exhibits.

The group had bundles of energy and excitement, however when it was time for lights out, they all slept soundly until 7am in the morning.

At the end of their overnight visit they met Adam Bland, our Vivarium Assistant who gave them a tour of the Museum’s Vivarium (Live Animals gallery) and introduced the group to some of the Museum’s animals, including snakes, tree frogs and chameleon.

Find out more about their experience at Pure Innovations blog:

http://www.pureinnovations.co.uk/fun-at-duke-of-edinburgh-camp-at-manchester-museum/

We look forward to seeing the participants at the Museum again soon.

Vicky Grant, Family Programme Coordinator

School Partnerships: The Art of Identity

At the end of January 2014 Manchester Museum played host to two out of the three partner schools as part of our ‘Children & the Arts’ Start programme: The Art of Identity. Derby High School and Wardle Academy visited the Museum with their Year 8 students on 23rd and 28th January respectively to take part in a variety of activities around the topic of Identity.

The ‘Children & the Arts’ Start programme works with arts venues around the UK to foster new partnerships with their local schools.  As a result Start has given three Manchester schools the motivation, means and opportunity to engage their students in a series of creative experiences outside of the school environment (at the Museum) in order to use these experiences back in school. Students from each school will work with a creative practitioner to create a final piece of artwork that will go on display in Manchester Museum in the summer.

portraitEach school begins their Start project with a whole year group visit to the Museum to introduce them to the project and explore the topic of Identity. The starting point for the project is centered on our Greaco-Roman Mummy Portraits, which we hope will inspire the students to consider how identity can be presented in the past and the impact of multi-cultural traditions on individuals and groups.

For the Enrichment Day, the Museum designed a variety of different workshops, sessions and activities to complement the collection and examine different facets of identity. In our Celebrities and Shabtis session, students determined how identity can be defined by particular objects and what these might say about individuals. Whereas in our CSI Athens workshop students used objects to determine who was most likely to have committed a fictional crime. Students were also engaged in on-gallery discussion with our curator – Campbell Price – about how representative ancient Egyptian art might be and if it might depict ‘real’ people. We had a print-maker, Alan Birch, who took self-portraits that the students had drawn themselves and demonstrated how to create prints of these using a printing press (you can view further examples here). We also encouraged student to consider animal identity and how humans classify the natural world and challenged them to make their own Figurines as part of our Fragmentary Ancestors temporary exhibition.

A creative practitioner was also assigned to each school and led a workshop linked to the Greaco-Roman Portraits with students who would be involved in creating the final artwork back at school. These sessions were unique to the practitioner and tailored to suit the needs of the individual school and the supporting subjects that were defined at the project outset.

The two Enrichment Days proved to be a great success, with some great feedback from both teachers and feedback – some of which I’ve included here (see below). It was a great way to involve the school and their students during the start of the project, and now each school will work with their creative practitioner and a set of students to create their final artwork for Museum display. These students will be returning to the Museum for a second visit over the course of the school year, so watch out for more posts about it!

Students at Derby Academy:
71% of students said that they had enjoyed the activities of the day. 35% said they would visit the Museum with family and friends, with another 43% saying they might come back.

Students at Wardle Academy:
50% of students said that they had enjoyed their visit and 50% said they would come back to the Museum with family and friends.

Some of the teachers’ comments reflect the quality of the workshops:

  • “I thought this was very educational – lots of learning opportunities” – Derby High Teacher on the Animal World session
  • “…developed thinking skills and team skills.” – Derby High Teacher on CSI Athens workshop
  • “All children engaged, constantly asking questions. Liked the pace and engagement of Campbell’s talk” – Derby High Teacher on the Egyptian Gallery discussion
  • “Pupils loved making the figurines…well linked to the topic.” – Derby High Teacher on the Fragmentary Ancestors activity
  • “An excellent, well organised day. Great to see our children so switched on and thinking!” – Wardle Academy teacher
  • “Great to handle real objects. Good link with present back to the past. Pupils very engaged and reflecting on the use of objects and meanings” – Wardle Academy teacher on Celebrities and Shabtis
  • “Very engaging for students – totally absorbing” – Wardle Academy teacher on the print-making workshop

PHOTOGRAPHS OF ACTIVITIES

Babies explore the Coral exhibition at Manchester museum

Our first Baby Explorer sessions of   2014 (Tuesday 7 Jan) took place in our beautiful temporary exhibition Coral  – something rich and strange designed by Ben Kelly ( Hacienda) and featuring a diverse range of exhibits, including,  18th c sea anemones , a Rossetti painting and new works by artists Mark Dion and Karen Kasper.

The space wasn’t designed for under 5’s but our baby Explorer ‘Under the Sea’ story was perfectly themed for the space and we took advantage of the nooks and crannies around the central exhibition space to build islands of sensory play for babies and parents to explore.

We shared the gallery space with our general visitors, informing them of what was taking place  as they entered the space (16 babies and ‘strange’ looking resources on the floor!) and assuring them that the space was still open and that they were welcome to join us. We have found that on the whole our general visitors are delighted to see young children in the museum.

We have used our Nature Discovery gallery as a base to develop our Baby Explorer programme, but as we have grown in confidence as practitioners our aim is to support parents into the main spaces of the museum and to encourage them to visit at other times outside of the sessions, especially if our babies have siblings.

During the summer we held some of our sessions in our temporary exhibition, ‘Trees’ and we have developed a set of Baby Explorer sacks linked to our Ancient Worlds themed session which we use  to support parents  to explore the gallery spaces. Being out and about in different museum spaces is also a great way to raise the profile of the early years work within the museum itself.

We asked parents and carers for feedback from the session in the Coral exhibition, which was really positive and here are some of their comments;

‘Had a brilliant time at first session today. Really enjoyed being in the gallery – something for adults to see as well’.

‘The raised exhibition provided an interesting space to explore. Lots of interesting corners.’

Babies  will be exploring  the Coral exhibition again on Tuesday 21 January.

IMG_4617 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Exciting opportunity for University of Manchester PhD students at our cultural venues

Manchester Museum, Whitworth Art Gallery and John Rylands Library are looking to recruit first or second year PhD students to deliver educational sessions for their respective secondary and post-16 programmes. The aim is to utilise PhD student’s expert knowledge to enrich the student experience for our formal school and college visitors.

This will be a paid position for the delivery of education sessions (which includes set-up and clear-away time where applicable). Delivery of sessions will be on a casual basis depending on demand. Demonstrators will receive full training in communication, facilitation and session specific skills before being requested to deliver any sessions. Further details of roles, responsibilities and payment will be given on enquiry.

Interested applicants at all venues should:

  • Be able to speak enthusiastically about their subject
  • Be able to communicate complex concepts in an approachable and engaging manner
  • Be interested in inspiring pupils to explore further study
  • Have excellent communication skills, preferably with experience of presenting to secondary or college students
  • Be organised, self-motivated, reliable and keen to work with groups of up to 30 secondary or A-level students
  • Be flexible and able to commit to dates up to one month in advance
  • Have some teaching experience (not essential)

Interested applicants for the Manchester Museum Science Programme should:

  • Be studying a Science subject at PhD level
  • Have a strong subject and practical knowledge in either genetics, molecular biology, evolutionary biology, biodiversity, climate change, geology, earth sciences, photon physics or a similar subject area (only one needed)
  • Have a passion for museum collections or be excited to work with them

Interested applicants for the Whitworth Art Gallery Programme should:

  • Be studying a Science subject at PhD level (ideally zoology or similar)
  • Have an interest and knowledge of animal anatomy and behaviour
  • Be excited to work with an art demonstrator in an art gallery/museum setting

Or

  • Be studying an Art subject at PhD level
  • Have experience in leading observational drawing
  • Be excited to work with a science demonstrator in an art gallery/museum setting

Interested applicants for the Manchester Museum Humanities Programme should:

  • Be studying Classics and Ancient History at PhD level
  • Have an interest and knowledge of Ancient Civilisations, particularly Greek and/or Roman
  • Have a passion for museum collections or be excited to work with them

Interested applicants for the John Rylands Library Programme should:

  • Be studying an English subject at PhD level (ideally English Language)
  • Ideally have an interest and knowledge of English language change from manuscripts, through printing and ‘modern’ changes, (opportunities to develop this further)
  • Have a passion for library collections, be already using the John Rylands collection for research (not essential) or be excited to work with them

Please apply by CV and cover letter (stating which venue’s programme you wish to be considered for and why), and send to Emily Robinson (Emily.robinson@manchester.ac.uk) by Tuesday 26th November 2013. If you are unsure whether you are eligible for one of the above roles please contact Emily Robinson by phone on 0161 306 1764.

Science Spectacular

Science SpectacularThis Saturday as part of the Manchester Science Festival, The University of Manchester is hosting ‘Science Spectacular’ here at Manchester Museum and in our ajoining building Whitworth Hall.

Come and join us on a whistle-stop tour of research at the University and take part in some great science challenges. Explore the insides of a nuclear reactor, go on a journey through the hidden body, take a closer look at the moon, and snuggle up to some unusual creepy crawlies.

You’ll get to meet the scientists and engineers behind the amazing research and the chance to take part in fun activities throughout the day including face painting, craft making and science busking. See if you can also spot the pop-up scientists who will talk about their science in 60 seconds or less!

With over 40 interactive exhibits and hands-on science activities it will be fun for all the family!

Science Spectacular | Saturday 2 November 2013 | Whitworth Hall & Manchester Museum | 11am-4pm | Free Entry

Evolution Solutions: Primary Science CPD event at Manchester Museum

stoatCalling all primary science teachers! 

Evolution and inheritance will be entering the primary science curriculum for the first time in September 2014. Join us for a day of inspiring hands-on activities, talks and ideas for teaching evolution in your classroom. This CPD event aims to:

  • Equip teachers with the skills and knowledge that they will need to teach evolution in the primary classroom with confidence
  • Provide teachers with ideas for hands on activities and resources, both in and beyond the museum
  • Generate a digital resource that compiles the activities included in the Manchester and Oxford CPD events, along with useful resources and links

animalWhen: Thursday 21st November 2013

Where: Manchester Museum

How much: £50 per person, including lunch

Bookings: If you would like to book a place, please email: school.bookings@manchester.ac.uk.

Queries: For enquiries or further details, please contact: Hannah-lee.chalk@manchester.ac.uk / Emily.robinson@manchester.ac.uk

Download the CPD flier (pdf)