A British Guianese Woman in Manchester

To mark Black History Month, this blog from Bryan Sitch, Deputy Head of Collections, shares the story of a Black woman, Miss Dora Obermuller, who came to live in Manchester from British Guiana during the 1930s. The story began when a member of the public, Mr Leonard Womack, contacted Manchester Museum to ask about some…

Feeling Peckish?

This post from Amy McDowall (Primary Learning Co-ordinator) and Mattie Davies (Inflatable Museum Programme Assistant), is particularly relevant this week. With the University of Manchester awarding Marcus Rashford an honorary degree in recognition for his charity work and well-publicised campaign against child poverty off the field (as well as his sporting skills on the pitch!),…

A Story of Storied Translation

International Translation Day takes place annually on 30 September and, since 2005, has served as: “an opportunity to pay tribute to the work of language professionals, which plays an important role in bringing nations together, facilitating dialogue, understanding and cooperation, contributing to development and strengthening world peace and security”. To mark International Translation Day 2021,…

Mooncakes and Rabbits: Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival

Today, Tuesday 21st September, is the Mid-Autumn Festival in China which, along with Chinese New Year, Dragon Boat Festival, and Qing Ming Festival, is one of the most important festivals in the Chinese calendar. In this post, Bryan Sitch and Fang Zong describe some of the stories associated with this festival, also known as the…

Help us shape the future of learning

Manchester Museum has an exciting career opportunity and invites applications for the post of Learning Programme Assistant – Outreach and Museum, providing full time employment for the next two years, throughout the final year of our hello future redevelopment and into the first year of reopening. The Learning Programme Assistant will play a key role…

Travelling Stories

Back in late 2018 Buxton Museum and Art Gallery invited expressions of interest from museums and galleries wishing to acquire objects from a large miscellaneous educational collection from the former Derbyshire and Derby Schools Library Service. The opportunity to acquire Chinese objects from this collection was of considerable interest to us at Manchester Museum as,…

The journey continues…

We’re getting there! Since the building work started in November 2019, we’ve come a long way – our beautiful two-storey extension is almost finished, creating a new Exhibition Hall and South Asia Gallery which will be the first ever permanent exhibition space in the UK dedicated to the stories and experiences of South Asian communities….

Chinese Valentine’s Day, The Double Seventh Festival

To mark Chinese Valentine’s Day Bryan Sitch, our Depty Head of Collections, and Fang Zong, Chinese Gallery Project Assistant, have teamed up to share the fascinating story behind the celebration and explain why it is also known as the Magpie Festival. Magpies have lots of superstition attached to them and they often get something of…

Rethinking the ‘Speaker Series’: Indigenising Manchester Museum

Manchester Museum’s Indigenise Speaker Series launched on July 22nd, 2021 with Dr Paulette Steeves as our opening speaker. This blog post from Alexandra P. Alberda, our Curator of Indigenous Perspectives, shares how we have designed this Speaker Series to empower and inform future programmes and work. On August 9th, to mark the UN’s International Day…

REIYL Spaces

This second post about the Museum’s ‘Black History Month and Beyond’ programme, is guest authored by Breanna J. McDaniel, who submitted a proposal for REIYL spaces; a series of conversations about race and racism in depictions of museum spaces in youth literature. In 2018 two graduate students decided to come together and create a network…

New job alert!

Manchester Museum is recruiting a part time Secondary and Post-16 Science Coordinator to contribute to our award winning learning programme. Do you love museums? Are you passionate about science and nature? Do you want to bring some awe and wonder into science teaching? Are you ready to shape the future of learning at Manchester Museum?…

Co-Curation: a personal account

There’s been a huge amount of progress with the co-curation of the South Asia Gallery, and in this guest post, Nazma Noor, one of Manchester Museum’s South Asia Gallery Co-Curators, shares her own personal account of the process. Back in 2019, I became part of the South Asia Gallery Collective, a group of people from…

Roots & Branches

Manchester Museum, along with Museum Development North West (MDNW) and the Carbon Literacy Trust, have just been awarded £136,750 of Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grant funding for an ambitious two-year partnership project, Roots & Branches, that aims to accelerate the museum sector’s ability to respond to the climate crisis. In this guest post…

Belle Vue Pyrodramas: depicting China

In part two of this guest blog from Tracey Boyce, having set the scene in her previous post with an introduction to the Belle Vue pryodramas, we discover more about the changing depictions of China over a period of almost 80 years. The first depiction of China at Belle Vue in 1861 was the representation…

Belle Vue Pyrodramas: an introduction

In the new Lee Kai Hung Chinese Culture Gallery opening in Autumn 2022, we will explore Manchester’s many and sometimes surprising links with China. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, as Tracey Boyce shows from her research, local perceptions of China were shaped by Belle Vue Zoo’s pyrodramas. The re-enactments of battles and the…

Black Spring Zine

In October 2020, Manchester Museum launched ‘Black History Month and Beyond’, a programme that aims to open up the Museum as a platform for amplifying black voices and stories. The call for proposals invited young people, community groups, creative practitioners and researchers to submit a proposal for new programmes, projects or events that responded to…

Young People and the Future of Museums: part 2

As part of the OSCH project, Manchester Museum has recently recruited two new Cultural Learning and Participation Apprentices in order to help attract young people to the heritage and cultural sector. In part 2 of this series to celebrate International Museum Day, Baz Rashid, our Secondary and Post-16 Science Coordinator, reflects on the importance of…

Young People and the Future of Museums: part 1

International Museum Day is an annual celebration day that invites the international museum community to raise awareness of museums as “an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples”. This year’s theme, The future of Museums: recover and reimagine, is all about the new practices…

Making a Difference: celebrating success

This guest post from Wendy Gallagher, our Head of Civic Engagement and Education, shares the amazing work that was recognised by the University of Manchester in the annual Making a Difference Awards. The University of Manchester’s Making a Difference Awards are an annual celebration of the outstanding work carried out by the University community of…

Building an Insect Hotel: part 2

In this guest post, Kate Eggleston-Wirtz, our Artist in Residence, brings us up to date on her work to create an Insect Hotel. The final outcome, offering accommodation fit for a king (termite) or queen (bee), is now on display in the Museum Shop, where you can come and see the spectacular and magical creation…

The Future of Education: From thinking to practice

This blog is part of a series about The Future of Education at Manchester Museum and builds on an earlier post (Making Connections) in which the potential for blending virtual and face-to-face learning was raised. With the closure of schools at the start of the year, and then the challenges faced by teachers in returning…

Animal care and other badges

To mark Saint George’s Day, our Inflatable Museum Support Assistant, Mattie Davies (they/them), shares some of the work that’s been underway to craft a new programme, using the collections and staff expertise to support groups of Scouts, Brownies and Guides. Today is Saint George’s Day, celebrated across the world by those who honour Saint George…

Chinese Language Day

To celebrate the UN Chinese Language Day 联合国中文日 and in anticipation of the opening of the new Lee Kai Hung Chinese Culture Gallery at Manchester Museum in autumn 2022, this guest post from Fang Zong shares some examples of objects associated with Chinese characters, and the stories behind them. Chinese was established as an official…

Gallery Developments

So much has been happening across the Museum, and with the vast majority of staff still working remotely, our zoom All Staff sessions are always useful both for sharing information and for the opportunity to catch up with colleagues. Our most recent session, yesterday morning, focused on the gallery spaces, including an update from Nusrat…

A Warm Welcome

You may recall the new Early Career Creative Programmer role that we advertised back in January, supported by the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries 2020-2022. I am delighted to introduce the newest member of the Museum’s Learning and Engagement team, Hattie Kongaunruan, who started her new role as ‘Early Career Creative Programmer – South Asia Gallery…

Spring Festival

We are delighted to introduce guest author, Dr Yan Wang Preston, who shares her personal thoughts and memories of Chinese New Year and Spring Festival celebrations in China and UK. The Spring Festival – also known as Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year – marks the start of the new year in the traditional…

Talking English (virtually speaking)

In this guest post Anna Bunney, our Engagement Manager, describes a recent success in programming. By shifting our work online, Anna describes how we’ve been able to refresh our existing partnership with Talk English. Civic education and partnerships are key to the way we work at Manchester Museum. One of our partners is Talk English,…

New Consultancy Opportunity

NOTE: Deadline extended to 5 April At Manchester Museum we are urgently transforming how we support ecological thinking and action, build more sustainable futures and inspire cooperation and change in our city.  We believe a better future requires us to rethink how we care and are convinced that our future is collaborative: long term relationships,…

The Multilingual Museum

In this guest post, Chiara Ludolini (Marketing and Digital Support) describes the new Multilingual Museum platform; what it is, what it does and how it came about. Through the novel approach of ‘Storied Translation’, Chiara shares some of the ways in which it has already been used to generate new and interesting content around the…

A ray of sunlight breaks through the dark forest

Such an appropriate title for this guest post from Andrew Gray, our Curator of Herpetology, who describes some of the ongoing work being carried out by the Vivarium team, and shares some much-needed good news; celebrating the power of collaboration and care – a ray of sunlight indeed! During the current lockdown Manchester Museum’s Vivarium…

How do we tell stories, and whose stories are they?

In this guest post Lowell Wallbank, our Events Services Coordinator, introduces the Museum’s new podcasts, focusing on the first series, and sharing why such conversations are so vital, particularly in the current climate. Asking questions is such a vital part of the work that we do in museums – and questions are at the very…

How Can Museums Tell LGBTQ+ Stories?

Telling LGBTQ+ stories – a process sometimes called ‘queering’ – is a key part of Manchester Museum’s LGBT+ History Month and Beyond programme. To mark and celebrate LGBT+ History Month, our Inflatable Museum Support Assistant, Mattie Davies (they/them), reflects on how museums can tell stories by and about lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, and/or questioning…

Qian Weishan and Adela Robina Warburton

In this post, Bryan Sitch continues to share the fascinating stories that have emerged through his research for the new Chinese Culture Gallery. After a brief introduction, Bryan hands back over to our guest author, Polly Shih Brandmeyer. The previous post for the new Lee Kai Hung Chinese Culture Gallery at Manchester Museum, opening in…

Hope and Despair: young peoples’ perspectives

This week (1-7 February) is Children’s Mental Health Week. Now in its seventh year, the week aims to “shine a spotlight on the importance of children and young people’s mental health”. That this is even an issue should, in the first instance, be seen as a shocking reflection of our society and the extent to…

Hope and Despair: thoughts from the Museum

In part one of this two-part blog about hope and despair, Hannah-Lee Chalk, Learning Manager, reflects on some of the ideas and issues that were raised during a recent event about the climate crisis and what these mean for the Museum. Early in January, I attended the ‘PGCE Generation Readied by Environmental Education Now‘ (GREEN)…

The Future of Education: Making Connections

This blog is the first in a series of posts, documenting our journey reimagine the future of education at Manchester Museum. This work has been underway for a while now and draws from the collective experiences, ideas and insights of the Learning and Engagement team, colleagues from other areas of the Museum’s work, and our…

Minerals and Empire: Mapping the Collection

In this second part of his blog about Minerals and Empire, David Gelsthorpe, Curator of Earth Sciences, shares some recent work to look closer at the (hidden) storied behind some of the minerals in the Museum’s collections. As I described in my previous post, part of what I wanted to do with the research that…

Minerals and Empire: Hidden histories

In this first post in a two-part series, David Gelsthorpe, Curator of Earth Sciences, shares some recent work to uncover the hidden stories and histories of minerals in the Museum’s collections. A few weeks before lockdown I was able to open our new mineral display at the Museum along with an accompanying virtual exhibition, Minerals:…

New year, new career?

Manchester Museum is currently recruiting for an exciting new role: Early Career Creative Programmer – South Asia Gallery Performing Arts. We are delighted to present this new opportunity that is supported by the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries 2020-22. Do you love museums? Interested in a creative career, working with the community, having conversations and bringing…

Co-curation and/in Covid

In this guest post Nusrat Ahmed, our South Asia Gallery Lead, reflects on what it means to co-curate a gallery during a pandemic and shares some of the progress that has been made throughout 2020, thanks to the creativity and resilience of the South Asia Gallery Collective. Over the last nine months we have all…

Having and Healing in Ancient Egypt and Today

UK Grief Awareness Week (2-8 December) is an initiative from the Good Grief Trust. The idea is to raise awareness of all aspects of grief and loss, and to offer access to a choice of tailored bereavement support to all those grieving in the UK and to those working with the bereaved. Above all, it…

Together we can…

In the spirit of International Volunteer Day and this year’s theme ‘together we can‘ this guest post comes from Kate Glynn, our Volunteer Coordinator. Saturday 5 December marks International Volunteer Day; an opportunity to celebrate and promote the wonderful contributions made by volunteers around the world. At Manchester Museum, we have a fantastic team of…

New Worlds? New Narratives?

In this guest post Baz Rashid, our Secondary and Post-16 Science Coordinator, shares some of the work that was produced by a group of young people as part of Manchester Museum’s contribution to the Being Human Festival. Earlier this month, Manchester Museum participated in the seventh annual Being Human Festival which aims to “engage the…

Ask A Conservator

18th November was ‘Ask a conservator’ day and Manchester Museum’s team of talented conservators did a fantastic job of answering some very interesting questions that were posed throughout the day. As well as questions about big issues – what it means to be a conservator in a museum that is committed to building a sustainable…

Acts of Kindness

Since 1998, 13 November has marked World Kindness Day. Founded by the World Kindness Movement and subsequently adopted in 2010 as Kindness Day UK, today is all about kindness and its power to bring people together – locally, nationally and globally. Formally defined (by the Collins Dictionary) as the quality of being gentle, helpful, and…

Don’t Worry, Meet Murray

Now in its second year, International Stress Awareness Week (established by the International Stress Management Association) aims to shine a light on stress and mental health problems, and promote the support services and positive actions that can help prevent or manage the effects of stress on daily life. This guest post from Wendy Gallagher, Head…

Walk through the Wood

Imagine an art gallery the size of a city where shop fronts and windows are transformed into display cases. Imagine an art gallery that is open 24/7, free of charge, and where you can safely wander around – free to follow your own route – viewing the displays that you want to see, when you…

Captain Cornell and Alice Plant

In this post, Bryan Sitch brings us another fascinating story that has emerged around his ongoing research for the new Chinese Culture Gallery. After a brief introduction, Bryan hands over to our guest author, Polly Shih Brandmeyer, who shares her own research into the lives Captain Cornell and Alice Plant and their secret adopted daughters….