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.

 

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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.

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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!

 

Evolution Solutions CPD event: Rescheduled for 10/2/14

rescheduled flierCPD update: the Evolution Solutions CPD event  for primary science teachers has been rescheduled for 10th February 2014.

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: Monday 10th February 2014

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.ukEmily.robinson@manchester.ac.uk

Download the new flier here

Guest Post: An Interesting Week at Manchester Museum

A guest post, written by Candice Kossowska who spent a week working on gallery resources for the primary learning team. Many thanks to Candice for all of her hard work, and keep an eye out for her resources, which will be available on the website very soon…

New Picture (24)1I am just embarking on my final year of the Primary Education Degree course, at Edge Hill University. I have spent a lot of time in primary schools, but I really wanted to experience how different learning can be, in an alternative educational setting. Manchester Museum certainly was different to my previous experiences!

The teaching team at the museum offer so many opportunities for children to engage with, by actually being able to explore and even touch real artefacts. I was able to observe many sessions, which included the Egyptian Worlds session – where children find out about the museum’s mummified Egyptian Chantress, Asru. The Dinosaur Detectives session, in which children use their knowledge of carnivores and herbivores, to solve a dinosaur murder mystery. The Dig Stories archaeology session, in which pupils use tools to excavate real archaeological finds! I was also able to experience how younger children including babies, can learn from and engage with the museum, during the fantastic Magic Carpet sessions – during which the team work so hard to captivate young minds!

While at the museum I was given my very own task – something I felt privileged to be asked to do – to plan some self-guided tour sessions using my own ideas! Of course you would think this would be an easy task, as there are so many amazing exhibits. However, because there are so many it’s hard to decide which ones to include within a session, for primary aged children.New Picture (26)

Therefore I explored all the galleries in the museum and read the background stories for many exhibits. I selected a number of exhibits and was able to create three educational gallery tours, which tie in nicely with the new National Curriculum. After much thought, I planned a number of different resources.

One resource uses the Living Cultures and Living Worlds galleries to give children the opportunity to find out about different cultural symbols, and how different cultures attach particular meanings to different animals. Another of my gallery tours will enable children in Key Stage 1 and 2 to find out about the environmental challenges that face some of our most endangered species – and even write their own lonely hearts column for an endangered animal.

New Picture (23)In the Natures Library exhibition, children will be introduced to the unusual collecting habits of the Victorians. Children will conjure up their own background story for a number of strange exhibits, including a Narwhal’s tusk, also known as the Unicorn Horn of Manchester Museum!

 

I enjoyed my week at the museum immensely. I have learned a great deal from exploring the different galleries and exhibits. I was able to ask lots of questions of the museum guides, and discovered interesting and sometimes almost unbelievable stories behind many exhibits!

Thinking creatively about using English across the Curriculum

Yesterday, the Museum took part in an induction week activity for over 200 PGCE students from the University. The day, titled “Thinking creatively about using English across the curriculum”, involved 3 activities based around the Museum, providing different ways of using an out of the classroom setting for English language teaching and learning. I had the pleasure of working with groups in our discovery centre, to introduce some of the joys of working with objects.

foxStudents carried out a selection of challenges, all of which focused on items from the collections, ranging from describing insects and shells for a partner to draw, a new version of ‘pass the bomb’ (associated words about an object with a ticking bomb timer that is passed around the group until it ‘explodes’), and the slightly more challenging ‘Just a Museum Minute’ (based on the amusing Radio 4 quiz show, but talking about museum objects without hesitation, repetition or deviation). kiwi

Perhaps my favourite was the activity where groups had to tell a story about our kiwi and fox. Here are 2 gems that I want to share…

‘I am a fox and I am looking at a lovely Kiwi. My name is Mr Fox. The kiwi is beautiful but I also feel as though I want to eat it, I am so conflicted. It looks very tasty and I am so hungry, I haven’t eaten all day. I’ve tried the kiwi fruit but its just not the same.’

‘I do not like them looking at me. I feel as if they are judging me. Their eyes lock onto mine and I cannot move a muscle. Ive had so many staring contests, now I am a master. I am tired now – my eyes hurt. I bare my teeth at them and they run away. Phew! (This is the fox by the way)’

Students also had the opportunity to explore our Living Cultures and Manchester Galleries to focus on using objects as the basis for a piece of writing, and our Fossil Gallery for a brainstorming activity, The day was a lot of fun (if not exhausting!), and I would like to wish all of the students the best of luck for the next year. It was a fantastic opportunity for us to introduce the museum at such an early stage in their teaching careers, and hopefully, they will come back with their classes in the future!

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!

‘The tip of the educational iceberg’…amazing choir performance at Manchester Museum

choir picWe were amazingly privileged here at the Museum to play host to the fantastic ‘School Network Choir’ today. In the glorious Manchester sun, pupils from Oswald Road, Crab Lane, Birchfields and Barlow Hall schools sang a series of songs from around the world in the galleries and the Museum allotment, inspired by the collections in the Museum and the Whitworth Art Gallery. They sang beautifully, with passion and clear enjoyment. It was a wonderful sight to see and attracted staff, visitors and passers by alike. As described by their conductor, the actual performance is just the ‘tip of the educational iceberg’ – to prepare for this the pupils spent months researching Victorian and modern day Manchester, the Museum and its collection and learning about the history of the songs they were singing – and you could tell that they understood and had learnt so much more than just the words.

Here at the Museum we are always passionate about the collection and how inspiring it can be for creative work but it is always good to be reminded by brilliant projects and groups what wonderful and unexpected learning journeys objects can take you on. The performance today was an excellent reminder as to how great creativity can stem from experiences and sources outside the classroom and be used to stimulate classroom learning and enthusiasm for a subject.

Thank you to all schools involved today – we very much appreciated your efforts and the hard work you put it to your performances! And we very much hope to welcome you back in the future.

Upcoming Primary Projects

Here at the Manchester Museum we’ve had a couple of busy half term weeks, there’s been lots of very exciting activities going on. This has given the team in the Education Department a chance to plan and prepare for future projects however.

Coming up in March we have a big focus on Primary Science with an Interactive Science day with undergraduate students from the Faculty of Life Sciences here at the University. The students will be delivering a range of interactive Science sessions to spark the imaginations of future scientists.inspirationalscience

We also have a Sustainability day in March where primary school children will be looking at the way we live in the modern world and working out the carbon footprint created from the food we eat.

Look out for what the school groups get up to in future blog posts!

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

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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!

The Manchester Museum Comes To You

Pupils from Wilbraham Primary School get hands on with Ancient Egyptian objects.

The Manchester Museum’s redeveloped ‘Museum  Comes To You’ schools outreach offer is coming soon!

We have a brand new Egypt exploration session where you can help to solve the mystery of a raided tomb, learn about and handle ancient Egyptian objects and have a go at making your own scarab beetle or Egyptian headdress!
We have been super impressed by the love and knowledge that primary schools from far and wide have for all things Egyptian and can’t wait to visit more and more amazing schools. Watch this space for more information…