Secondary Learning Offer for Ancient Worlds

As Debbie mentioned in her last post excitment in the Education Department has been building up with the opening of our new Ancient World galleries. Well, they’re now open – and looking stunning too!

These three new galleries – Discovery Archaeology, Egyptian Worlds and Exploring Objects – will become the focus for some of our brand new workshops, in addition to being included into some of students’ favourite sessions from our usual offer.  To give you a taster, here are how some of our Key Stage Three sessions will utilise the galleries…

In our ArteFACT session students will now be able to explore the Discovering Archaeology gallery to learn how objects can teach us about the past as well as investigating collections in Exploring Objects to write alternative labels for archological finds.

In Citizen of the City students will use the gallery to inform them on their roles in Ancient Athens and how we know about these people through archaeology.

Whereas, in Natural Reflections – where students answer ‘big’ questions, including one on human remains – they can view a variety of remains on display showing different types of display and information we can learn from these, sometimes contentious, objects.

For more information on any of the sessions, visit our website or see the pre-visits for each session by clicking on the workshop title. Alternatively, contact Cat Lumb, and look out for more posts on our new galleries and their accompanying learning programme!

Learning Placement Experience

This week we have been very fortunate to have the help of aspiring Religious Studies teacher, Sophie Hall, who has been working with me on the Secondary Humanities programme.  Here’s what she had to say about her experience:

“So I have just spent 3 days at the Manchester Museum with the Learning Team and it was fabulous! I have just finished my degree at the University of Manchester and will be on my way to Liverpool in September to start my PGCE. I came to the Museum to experience education outside of a UK school setting and don’t think I could have gotten a better experience. The Learning Team are extremely organised and very lovely; my time with them has been really great.

While at the Museum I got the chance to wander round the galleries and made links between objects and Religion and there were loads! I really wasn’t expecting to be able to compare and contrast as much as I could but found it extremely enriching. It was possible to make links in every gallery to religion, even in the Money Gallery. I had the chance to make up some possible session plans, connecting to the galleries. As a future teacher the only teaching experience I have had has been in a classroom so to imagine teaching on a gallery was completely alien but turned out to be a really good task for me.

Coming to the Museum I expected to leave with the necessary information to understand education outside a school setting but I’m leaving today with much more. The sessions plans I have seen give opportunities to every student and I’m sure would be incredibly popular with those pupils who struggle to learn in the classrooms. They have links to the curriculums, challenge students in ways that is often lacking in schools and allow students to explore the world they live in, both past and present. I have really enjoyed my time here and will definitely be bringing my future students for a visit!! Thank you Learning Team!!”

Sophie was great at highlighting links with objects on gallery that I would never have thought of, and her specialist knowledge on Religion has created some really exciting potential resources and session ideas for the programme. It’s been great to host Sophie’s placement and we wish her all the best in her PCGE at Liverpool.

Ancient Worlds school resources on their way!

Can you spot what’s on our Ancient Egyptian timeline?

I have been very lucky this week to have the creative input of some very talented staff here at the Manchester Museum who have painted ten key images from ancient Egyptian history onto our new canvas scroll. This visual timeline will be used with visiting school groups during the new Egyptian gallery primary school session, ‘The Egyptian World; museum secrets, mummies and pyramids!

A huge thank you to Karen, Sam and Cornelia for their wonderful creative work,  it looks fantastic! We hope to see many schools enjoying and exploring this ancient Egyptian timeline very soon.

Birchfields Primary school write a label for a very special museum object…



On Friday 6th July a wonderful group of very talented Year 5 pupils from Birchfields Primary School were invited to have a go at quite a challenging lable writing task. We asked the group ‘Can you choose one Egyptian Shabti from our wonderful and varied collection here at the Manchester Museum and write a 75 word label for it?’

The answer, quite unanimously, was yes they certainly could!

It was a very busy day, with lots of decision making and editing throughout their work; the group were very hard working! The class worked in small groups working their way through the selection process and then choosing the best descriptions from within their groups. Our curator of Egyptology, Campbell Price, was on hand to offer further insight into what the Shabtis were and explain a little bit about where this label will be displayed in the Museum.

We were all really impressed with the level of descriptive language used. The group produced really thought provoking descriptions that made us here at the Museum think differently about the objects too; they really were offering us fresh insights into these wonderful objects from ancient Egypt.

Why not come and see their label displayed in the new ‘Ancient Worlds‘ galleries opening in October this year!

Enrichment Day

On Friday 15th June The Manchester Museum became a hive of activity when Burnage Media Arts College brought 90 (yes, you read that right: Ninety!) of their Key Stage Three students to take part in our Enrichment Day activities.

It was an intense, yet immensely fun day. The students were split into six groups of fifteen students, each with a tutor to supervise, and they took part in four out of six Enrichment Day activities on offer throughout the day. These consisted of:

Minerals and Me!: Students were encouraged to explore the differences between rocks and minerals and challenged to identify which raw materials make up a variety of everday objects



Creative Thinking: Using our anthropology collection as inspiration students created their own masks to celebrate the Jubilee and Olymipics


The Money Game: Students put their skills to the test in this fast-paced competition in our Money Gallery. First team to complete as many challanges correctly had the honour of being named ‘champion’! 


Mystery Animals: Using the Living Worlds gallery students used their own investigative skills in order to identify a mystery animal in our collection.



Dinosaur Footprints: How long a stride does Stan, our T-Rex, have? Students answered this question, and more, by examining different dinosaur footprints and concluding if they were walking, trotting or running. They were also able to predict scenarios suggesting how the footprints were made all those millions of years ago.

Finding Frogs: With our fantastic live animal collection students were encouraged to find out more about frogs and their unique adaptations, in addition to discussing issues around habitat loss. Then, if they were lucky, they got to meet one of our residents!

Here at the Museum we really enjoyed it – it was great to see so many students taking part in various activites and engaging with so much of our collection all in one day. To close, I’ll let you read what two of the teachers concluded about the day:

Museum staff were amazing: really flexible and enthusiastic – could not do enough for us as staff and the boys. Thank you!

Educational: students taught about different ideas. Very enjoyable!

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

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!

Enriching Experiences

On Monday 26th March The Manchester Museum hosted a fun-tastic Enrichment day for Kearsley Academy students. These days are intended to challenge students, build on their skills and intoduce them to the fascinating  topics and possibilities that cultural instituions like The Manchester Museum can offer.

As part of their Enrichment Day experience Key Stage 3 and 4 students took part in a carousel of workshops that included:

  • Minerals and Me – An interactive activity investigating our use of minerals in everyday life.
  • Living Worlds Performance – In partnership with the University of Manchester. Interact with a Theatre Studies student as she presents a short piece on our relationship to nature.
  • Money Game – A fast-paced game in which teams race against the clock to discover facts about currency.
  • Creative Thinking –  Create masks for significant events like the Olympics and the Queen’s Jubilee, using our Living Cultures Gallery as inspiration.

The day started at 10am and time sped by to the conclusion at 2.30pm. Students and teachers alike enjoyed the day, and we received some excellent feedback:

“It was a fun and educational day out with school!” – Student

“I enjoyed the visit. I learnt a lot of different information which I did not know and there were a lot of fascinating things to look at” – Student

“I like museums now and think they are interesting” – Student

“I now don’t think that history or modern facts are boring” – Student

“Throughout the Day the Educational package was great and the amount of time allocated each workshop was enough to keep the pupils on task” – Teacher

We’ll be offering more Enrichment Days throughout the Summer Term, so keep up to date with our offer through the website.

Vote for The Manchester Museum in the National Lottery Awards

 The Manchester Museum and Imperial War Museum North are delighted to let you know that the In Touch Volunteer Programme has reached the semi-finals of The National Lottery Awards! 

We now need your support to get us to the finals, and it’s your vote that will help to us get there! Please click on this link to cast your vote.

The Awards are an annual search to find the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects. In Touch is competing against nine other projects for the title of Best Education Project. We are already thrilled to get to the semi finals but it would be fantastic to reach the finals, specifically to celebrate the achievements of the volunteers involved, raise the profile of the project and achieve national recognition for this Manchester based initiative.

The In Touch Volunteer Programme was an innovative adult learning programme and one of the first of its kind in the museum sector. This collaborative programme was developed and delivered by The Manchester Museum and Imperial War Museum North, in partnership with Salford City College. In Touch helped over 180 people from the Greater Manchester area access heritage, re-engage with learning and develop key transferable skills for future employment.

Key achievements:

· 84% course completion

· 80 hours of learning and practice per volunteer

· 79% took the literacy qualification, 95% of whom passed

· 79% achieved accredited customer service qualifications

· 18% of In Touch volunteers moved on to employment.

· 41% of volunteers took part in further learning

To find out more about In Touch and view a short film about the achievements of our volunteers please visit our websites  or

Voting starts at 9am on Tuesday 31 May, and lasts until midday on Monday 20 June. Please click on this link  to cast your vote, or call 0844 836 9682*.  Please tell your colleagues, friends and family who may also like to support us. (*Calls will cost no more than 5p from a BT landline. Calls from other networks may vary, calls from mobiles could cost considerably more).

Every vote counts, so we really appreciate your support!