Robotics Day at the Rumble Museum

On Friday 13th January, over 70 Year Sevens and Eights took part in a robotics workshop, where they were able, in small groups or on their own, to build and programme their own lego robots. The event forms part of the Rumble Museum's Future Season, which involves a series of workshops, talks and events exploring different technologies and ideas about the future, culminating in our Festival of the Future on 25th March (for which a brochure is now available to view online here).

Deborah from Computer Explorers started by introducing the students to some basic components in their kits, and asked the groups initially to follow some instructions to experiment with getting the engines to rotate.

Museum Council Project with History of Science Museum

This term, the Lower School and Sixth Form Rumble Museum Councils have been having the opportunity to work closely with Chris Parkin from the History of Science Museum. The Museum have tasked the Rumble Museum Student Councils to create two new display cabinets which will be unveiled on the ground floor of the Museum in December or early January.
The lower school students have been working in two different groups, and have been choosing artefacts connected to calculation to display, and designing stories and text which will engage visitors in the artefacts they have chosen. One group has chosen to explore the evolution of numbers and counting, starting with very early systems such as Linear B, and looking at devices such as a Shepherd's Tally. The other group has decided to explore Charles Babbage's Difference Engine, and have been thinking about striking design ideas to make their cabinet appealing. 

100 Photographs of the Future: Competition

As part of the Rumble Museum's Future Season, we are holding an exciting competition to capture ideas about the future on camera.
To enter, you can submit either one photograph, or a group of connected photographs, which connect with the theme of the future in some way. It could be one photograph capturing a particular idea about the future, or it could be a 'before-and-after' of people or places. If it involves a 'before-and'after' set of photographs, then the 'after' photograph needs to be taken by you, though the 'before' photograph does not need to be taken by you (please do not enter any copyright images). 
You also need to supply a paragraph explaining your photograph or group of photographs. 
Entry is open to all ages.
The winning entries will be turned into large display boards for the Festival of the Future, as well as being made available online on a special website for the project. There may be a display in a central public venue as well.
You need to email entries to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with "100 Photographs Entry" in the title, and your full name and age in the email. 
The deadline for entry is 1st January, 2020
We look forward to seeing your photographs!

Cities of the Future Event

On Friday 8th November, a group of Year Seven and Eight students took part in the third Rumble Museum Future Season event this term, which involved planning cities of the future! A team from Oxford Brookes University ran an all day workshop exploring how cities have changed in the past, and what sort of things might be realistic and likely in the future.
They started the day with a brainstorm in teams of five to get an initial idea of what students imagined cities might be like. A range of interesting points were suggested, with a large number centred upon 'greener' cities. All of the groups felt that travel would be almost entirely electric-powered in the future, and some even imagined 'sky taxis and trains. Cities were imagined to be full of tall buildings, and to be made of glass rather than brick.
This was followed by a photograph sort activity, where each group was given a 'before and after' photograph for some cities, and they had to work out which went with which. The cities had all changed an enormous amount in just fifty years, and we watched a short video showing how one particular city, Dubai, had changed in fifty years, from a small city in the desert to an enormous, highly modern, tourist city, with stunning design and the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa, at 829.8 metres.

Rumble Museum's Pompeian Street at the Ashmolean Late Opening

On Friday 25th October, the Rumble Museum Student Council took over the Randolph Sculpture Gallery at the Ashmolean Museum to run activities and performances themed on a Pompeian street. The students designed a range of fun street stalls, including the opportunity to make a Roman mosaic of the famous Cave Canem image, jewellery making and artefact handling using objects from the Rumble Museum collection.

Rumble artefacts included a quern stone (used for milling flour at the many Pompeian bakeries), Roman furniture fittings, a dice, mortaria fragments (used in Roman kitchens for grinding herbs) and mosaic tiles. We also brought some pumice stones from Mt Vesuviius.

Robot Model Trail

We are holding a large community Festival of the Future on March 25th 2019 from 3.30 until 6pm at Cheney School to explore the future of society from many different angles, ranging from technological progress to the impact of climate change, from ideas about the future of cities, schools and transport to advances in medicine and neuroscience. The event's keynote speaker is Lord Robert Winston.
As part of this celebration, we are creating an exciting new piece of public art in the form of a model Robot Trail around the site. These six foot tall robot models will each have their theme designed by Cheney students to represent different ideas about the future. They will be installed onto eight outdoor plinths so that that students, staff, and the wider community can explore them. They will be striking, colourful and educational works of art which will inspire the very diverse community of East Oxford and beyond. 
Each robot will cost about £600 and there will be eight robots in our trail (we are also creating six smaller ones for local primaries to theme). 
We are looking for businesses and organisations who might like to sponsor a robot by providing some of the costs towards the model. This sponsorship would be stated on a sign next to the robot as well as on our website, and on the trail maps and brochures we produce.
If you are interesting in supporting this exciting art trail, please contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Science Fiction Artefacts at the Weston Library

On Friday 18th October, 19 students from Year Seven and Eight took part in the Rumble Museum's second Future Season event.
The group arrived at the Weston Library at 1.30pm and were greeted by Rosie Sharkey and Rodger Caseby from the Bodleian Library. They were shown upstairs to the beautiful Bahari conference room where they started to think about how to start writing a story set in a futuristic world.

Pop-up Museum Cafe at St Alban's Church

We were delighted this summer to trial a new kind of project: we ran an open morning museum café at St Alban's Church every morning from 9 until 12 on weekdays from 29th July to 9th August.

The purpose of the museum café was for the public to visit and explore the beautiful and atmospheric building of St Alban's Church, including its art, architecture and history, as well as to explore some Roman artefacts. We designed educational trails and colouring activities for children, and ran a cafe with drinks and brownies. We brought some Roman original and replica artefacts from the Rumble Museum at Cheney, including replica shield, helmet, strigil, oil lamp, wax tablet, brooch, and original, local pieces of pottery excavated from Headington and Marston, as well as an original quern stone and hand stone.

Imagined Planets Day with Chris Beckett

From Plato and Lucian to modern day, we will be exploring science fiction over the next few months at our classics centre and Rumble Museum. To kick off our season of exploration, on Wednesday 17th July, 22 Year Sevens took part in our Imagined Planets Day.

Students arrived to find four different group tables, each one named after a different science fiction author, with a booklet outlining the task for the day, and some of the materials displayed on the tables.

Arthur C Clarke-award winning author, Chris Beckett, began the day with a detailed and fascinating introduction to his novel Dark Eden, which is set on a sunless planet on which a small group of humans crash landed many years ago. He spoke about how he went about creating the planet - how the first idea came from the screen of his Amstrad computer which had a black screen with bright green lettering. This gave him the idea of a planet where the light came from the living things on it rather than the sun.

Seizing the Day in Pompeii: Dr Paul Roberts at Museum Council Launch

This week, we were very excited to launch our first ever Rumble Museum Council. A group of 15 students from Years Eight, Nine and Ten, met for a breakfast meeting to begin their journey as students closely connected with the direction and development of the museum at Cheney School.

The Museum Council will take part in a number of exciting projects, and students will get special access to behind-the-scenes museum staff and exhibitions to help gain an understanding of how museums operate. Our first project is with the Ashmolean and their “Last Supper in Pompeii” Exhibition, so we were especially delighted to welcome Dr Paul Roberts, the curator of the exhibition, to talk to the group about the exhibition and how it was designed.

Back to School: Alumni Story and Artefact Collection Afternoon

On Friday 28th June, the Rumble Museum was delighted to welcome back alumni from Cheney Technical and Cheney Girls School, as well as some alumni from later eras, to share their stories and objects from their time here. Cheney School's site was once two separate schools which arrived here in the 1950s. Cheney Technical School came here in 1954 from St Ebbe's area of town, and was originally founded by John Brookes in 1934. It occupied the area of school now called W block after Arnold Wainwright, the head teacher who oversaw the move. Cheney Girls School started life as a Sunday School in 1797 and then became Oxford Central Girls School, and moved to New Inn Hall Street. It moved to Cheney's site in 1959, and occupied the area called C Block, named after Louisa Chadwick, a much-loved head teacher of the Oxford Central Girls School.