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.
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.
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.
On Wednesday 27th March, we held our long-awaited Iris Festival of Natural History, Classics, Art & More at Cheney. For a few hours, Cheney School’s site was entirely transformed with the arrival of animatronic dinosaurs, tarantulas, ball pits, sundials, birds of prey, a storytelling tent, and many other unexpected and thrilling exhibits.
The Festival was a celebration of the Rumble Museum at Cheney, the first museum in a state school, and its journey towards Arts Council Accreditation, and over fifty different organisations travelled from near and far to run a very wide range of exciting stalls, activities, exhibitions and shows. The event was split into five main discovery zones. In the Science and Natural History zone, Cheney students and visitors explored spiders webs, fossils, botany and dragonflies, brought by the Cole Museum, Brookes Botanical Society, Natural History Museum in Oxford, University of Oxford Department of Zoology, the British Dragonfly Society and the Dinosaur Society. The Travelling Natural History Museum brought a range of models, and also two huge animatronic dinosaurs, who thrilled visitors with a show every half an hour! Millets Falconry brought beautiful owls which attracted a constant crowd of admirers.
The Rumble Museum at Cheney is delighted to be supporting the Oxfordshire Hospital School as it embarks upon an exciting museum project over the next few months. The Rumble Museum will work with the team at the Hospital School as it develops in-house displays of museum objects, and projects connected to these displays.
Catherine Costello from the Hospital School said: "It was a real inspiration to be able to visit Cheney School last week to see the ways in which their wonderful museum exhibitions have enriched pupils understanding of history and the wider curriculum across the school. We are thrilled to be able to benefit from Lorna's extensive experience in the coming weeks as we begin to work on our new initiative."
The Oxfordshire Hospital School (OHS) is an Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) maintained school based across a number of settings throughout the county of Oxfordshire. The school serves children & young people aged 4-19 who are unable to attend their home school due to a wide range of medical and mental health needs.
The Rumble Museum at Cheney is a unique partnership between an educational charity and a school. The Iris Project, a charity which promotes learning about the ancient world, is working with Cheney School to grow a museum within a school. We are working within the Arts Council Museum Accreditation Scheme.
We have been very fortunate to have been donated some large pieces of a Roman Kiln which was excavated from the Churchill Hospital in Oxford in 1972. For many years, the Kiln has been housed at the Museum of Oxford in the Town Hall.
The Museum of Oxford are now developing their site to create new displays, and decided to break the kiln into smaller pieces, some of which they have kept. We were privileged and honoured to receive two large pieces of the kiln wall (pictured on the left) and a much larger piece containing some of the original corbelling.
Over the next few months, we will be working with students to create a new display of these pieces, connecting them with the extensive history of the Romans in Headington.
Watch this space for further updates!