On Friday 30th November, 31 Year Eight Classics and Museum students set out to visit the Oxford's world-renowned Natural History Museum!
Year Eight History students were privileged to welcome University of Oxford researcher, Hanna Smyth, to introduce the exhibition that she has been helping to create: Oxford: the War and the World, 1914 – 9. This touring exhibition is coming to Cheney School’s Rumble Museum as one of its venues in December. It tells twelve stories of individuals who were involved in World War One in some way, and who have some connection to Oxford. Year Eight students will be involved in creating a guidebook for this exhibition in the coming weeks!
Hanna started by asking everyone to think about what a museum has to think about when it is putting on an exhibition. She pointed out that one of the key things to think about is editing, and how to take the information that you have, and shape it into an interesting exhibition that is appropriate to the audience. She asked the students what the difference between memory and history was, and some said that memory was an opinion and personal and living, whereas history was impartial and collective and continued through time. Hanna asked everyone to be aware, as the group begins to work on our own display boards project, that memories, history and museums are never neutral. They all have a perspective, and they all choose to include some things and overlook others.
We were very privileged to have been able to welcome Professor Sally Shuttleworth and Dr Catherine Charlwood from the University of Oxford Humanities Centre (TORCH) to introduce an exciting project on the theme of 'Diseases of Modern Life' to Year Eight students a few weeks ago, which culminated last night in Year Eight artwork, poetry and other responses being projected at Victorian Night Light as part of the Oxford Christmas Lights Festival.
This week our Year Eight History students who are involved in the "From Sappho to Suffrage" museum project continued their journey!
They started by presenting some of the wonderful display boards and leaflets they had prepared for their chosen suffragettes. There were some very thoughtful, sensitive and also entertaining ideas and layouts. A range of different suffragettes were chosen. A popular choice was Emily Davison, who famously tried to attach a suffragette's flag to the King's horse and died doing so. We talked about whether she intended to kill herself - her return ticket has suggested it may not have been her intention. Some also looked at people like Annie Kenney, who was a mill worker who campaigned for the right for women to vote.
We have been running new anthropology workshops at the Rumble Museum to engage students in our collections and in our Living Museum project.
When students arrived at these workshops, there were six different objects on your tables and an “archaeological find sheet”. They all explored the objects and imagined they were discovering them as curious archaeologists, looking for and recording as much information as possible.
On Friday 9th February, we held our Festival of Imagined Worlds at Cheney School! The festival was a celebration of the magical worlds invented by authors, and an exploration of ancient artefacts and archaeology in connected to our myth and imagined worlds. Hundreds of visitors and Cheney school students were able to explore four different main fictional worlds: J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Lewis Carroll and Harry Potter. A yellowbrick road connected the different worlds, and in each one, there were a very wide range of stalls, workshops, activities and decorations. Outside, there were beautiful owls and other birds of prey, brought by Millets Farm, as well as Quidditch, which visitors could take part in!
Cheney School's earliest roots stretch all the way to around 1797, when four Sunday Schools were started in Gloucester Green. One of these gradually grew, and went on to move into a purpose built site on New Inn Hall Street in 1901, becoming Oxford Central Girls School. Eventually, in 1959 it moved to the Cheney Lane site and became Cheney Girls Grammar School. However, this is only half the story! In 1934 John Henry Brookes created a junior day department of the Arts and Technical College, based in Church Street near st Ebbe's. This later become Cheney Technical School and moved to Cheney Lane in 1954. The two schools eventually merged in 1972 to become Cheney Comprehensive School.