The Inflatable Museum

What it is

The Inflatable Museum is an immersive learning environment designed to bring the wonder and curiosity of Manchester Museum to school halls across Greater Manchester. Incorporating a flexible activity area and high quality AV equipment, the Inflatable Museum is a vibrant, engaging space in which to handle real objects from our collection and create memorable and inspiring learning experiences.

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How it works

The Inflatable Museum can accommodate a full primary school class and their accompanying adult helpers; approximately 36 people in total. It takes around 20-30 minutes to set up depending on what workshop we’re delivering, and is transportable in our museum van.

The Inflatable Museum has been designed to fit in the average Manchester school hall, and its dimensions are 8.2m long x 7.4m wide x 3.5m tall. Due to the lightweight nature of fabric used to construct it, the Inflatable can only be set up indoors. It is therefore likely to be your school hall that accommodates it, and we normally deliver one workshop in the morning and one in the afternoon. The Inflatable can be deflated for a portion of the day to allow for the normal delivery of lunch service.

What we offer

Archive Explorer: Ancient Egypt (KS2, 70 minutes)

Through an immersive, time-travelling adventure in the Inflatable Museum, this workshop gives your class the opportunity to develop and apply their historical enquiry skills and knowledge of ancient Egypt. Through object handling activities and challenges, pupils will:

  • Develop their enquiry and investigative skills.
  • Assume the role of archaeologists to research Egyptians artefacts and explore their journeys to the Museum.
  • Work in groups to debate the ethics of collecting and present their arguments to the class.

Enrichment Experience (EYFS, KS1, KS2, half or full days)

Alongside our standard Archive Explorer workshops, we also offer flexible enrichment experiences to inspire curiosity in pupils and enliven their enthusiasm for learning. Like all of our workshops, these experiences have object handling at their core but can be tailored to particular subject areas – curriculum-linked or extracurricular – and age groups depending on your requirements. For example, we recently worked with a three form entry primary school to develop a full day of workshops to be delivered to all pupils (and their parents and carers) as a stimulus for future cultural engagement.

We would encourage to get in touch if you think there is way in which the Inflatable Museum and our collection can support your pupils’ learning.

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Who we visit

Our primary motivation for developing the Inflatable Museum was a desire to extend the Museum’s reach and work with schools and communities who might ordinarily face barriers to engaging with us, financially or otherwise.

While we welcome booking enquiries from all interested Greater Manchester schools, booking priority will be given to schools who we do not currently work with, or who are identified by the University of Manchester’s widening participation criteria as high priority.

How to book

For all Inflatable Museum enquiries please contact our Inflatable Museum Coordinator, Jack Ridley, at jack.ridley@manchester.ac.uk, or 0161 306 1599.

Please note that enquiries for all other Manchester Museum visits must go through our online enquiry form, which can be found here.

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