The Rumble Robots Tell Ghost Stories from Cheney's Past

For the first time, the Rumble Museum Robots which have watched over the Cheney outside space since the pandemic began two years ago have begun to speak!

In the past few weeks, they have been taken away for some repairs to their arms, and secretly, they were also adapted to be able to install speakers. On their return, they waited in silence for a few days before speaking for the very first time to students on Tuesday 15th March at break time to unsuspecting Cheney students.

The Year Eight Museum Council students and Sixth Form Museum Volunteers have been in the know for a number of weeks, and have kept the plans veiled in secrecy. The students were given the challenge of preparing the first words of the robots, and decided to create some ghost stories connected to Cheney's past. They worked in groups to compose some stories, and the robots have been speaking this stories since Tuesday morning at certain times, including an English lesson, where other students were then able to come up with their own new stories.

African Artefacts Community Project

We are delighted to have received a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for a project developing displays and workshops using our African Artefacts Collection.

In December 2020, we were privileged to have received an extensive and fascinating collection of artefacts from a range of countries in Africa. Over the past year we have been working with Natty Mark Samuels, founder of the African School, the Earth Museum, and groups of students and community members of African heritage, to create striking displays and resources around these artefacts.

The collection consists of a mixture of everyday items such as a beautifully decorated African doorframe, an African drum, and an agaseke basket. In each case, Natty has been working with our students and staff to produce an information booklet including traditional poems inspired by the objects, and a series of mini videos about the items which can be used in a range of educational contexts. The videos can be found by clicking on the links below:

Tree Trail at Cheney

In November 2020, Year Eight Museum Council students began a new project to explore and celebrate the trees on site at Cheney School.

Over the last few months, they have been working hard to identify, map and photograph all of Cheney's beautiful trees. They have themed each section, and recruited a range of Cheney staff to be the voices of the trees. As well as many fascinating and informative staff tree voice-overs, there are some celebrity trees hidden in each section - visit the tree trail to see if you can recognise their voices as they tell you about their tree.

Initially, due to Covid, we decided to make a virtual Tree Trail that people could explore over lockdown, and this virtual Tree Trail was launched on 24th March as part of the Rumble Museum's Cheney 2050 event. The event involved building a whole new website, on which we hosted the event itself, and also the Tree Trail. You can explore the Tree Trail on this site and, if you log in, you can collect points and earn a badge for completing the trail.

Explore our virtual Tree Trail below (please click on the image).

We have also been working with silvologist Gabriel Hemery on his exciting Tree Letters project, and one of Cheney's trees hosts a capsule as part of this project.

On Saturday 22nd May we will be having a Tree Trail morning, where members of the public will be able to explore the trees both inside and outside of the main school site. There will be activities and information sheets for children. More details will appear very soon on our 'What's On' page.

History of Medicine in 30 Objects

 This September, the Rumble Museum has launched a pilot of a new project which will use objects from history to help deliver the Medicine Through Time module from Edexcel’s History GCSE course. The project has been developed by Mr David Gimson (Cheney School, Museum Lead), Mr David Hibbert (The Weald School, Head of History) and Dr Lorna Robinson (Cheney School, Rumble Museum Director).

This project is being trialled in Year Nine classes at Cheney School (where the Rumble Museum is housed) and the Weald School. Thirty objects representing five different time periods have been selected, and lessons and course materials are being developed in order to deliver lessons which use the objects as a way to recreate the time periods and explore the past. Full write-ups of all lessons and resources can be found on a blog for the project here.

Each school involved has access to either original or museum quality replicas of the objects which will be used for viewing and handling as part of the lessons.You can view our collection here.

We are very grateful to the wide range of experts who have created bespoke voice-overs to introduce each object. Professor Matthew Snape from Oxford University Vaccine Group speaks on childhood vaccines, Author and broadcaster Professor Jim Al-Khalili has contributed on Arabic Medicine, Dr Simon Singh speaks about the problems of homeopathic remedies, Roger Highfield, Science Director of the Science Museum Group, and Professor of Public Engagement at the Dunn School speaks about the use of bedpans in the development of antibiotics, Dr Emily Mayhew talks on the importance of World War One advances in medicine and Professor Helen King speaks about Roman medical items. Many other experts have contributed, and all their recordings can be explored on our website pages here

Please contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information or if you would like to be involved.

Museum Art Installation Project with Artist Jane King

This term, Rumble Museum Council students are working on an exciting new art installation project with artist Jane King and Extinction Rebellion Food & Farming. They are designing and creating new art installations to represent the impact of food and farming on the environment. These will be installed in time for our Festival of the Future on 25th March where hundreds of visitors will be able to see it.

Future Season at the Rumble Museum: July 2019 - April 2020

We are delighted to announce that from July 2019 to April 2020 the Rumble Museum is running a Future Season.

This season is an exploration of objects and ideas about the future of society, from ancient predictions and perspectives, science fiction stories, novels, essays and art, climate change and environmental impact, school, town and city planning, to the latest robotics and artificial intelligence.

There will also be a range of competitions and projects, including our Robot Plinth Art Project, our Young Person's Science Fiction competition, Cities of the Future and Robotics projects, all culminating in our Festival of the Future on March 25th, 2020.

You can follow Future Season events on our Future Season Blog.

We look forward to seeing you at a Future Season event soon!

"Robin Hood" Community Cafe

From September 2020, we are opening the Robin Hood cafe, based in St Alban's Hall on Charles Street.It will open to the public every Saturday from 2 until 6pm, and serve hot and cold drinks, and snacks.

The cafe will be themed on the history of the 'Robin Hood' area of East Oxford, with old photographs and artefacts displayed on the walls. We are very interested in any stories people might have of the area, and for those who would like to share them, we can record these and make them available for others to listen to. Similarly, we would love to see any photographs and objects connected to the area, and can make digital galleries of these for those who would like that.

While the cafe is open, visitors will also be able to pop inside the historic building of St Alban's Church.

All ages are warmly welcome, and we will be posting an opening date soon!


Rumble Museum Women's Suffrage Course

This term all Year Eight students at Cheney School are studying an exciting new module designed around the original and replica artefacts from the Rumble Museum's Suffrage Collection in History lessons.

Each lesson explores a different aspect of the campaign for women's votes through artefacts and primary source material, incorporating object handling alongside a range of writing and activity tasks. Our Women's Suffrage Season Blog is updated every week with a full write-up of the lessons, links to further information and regular features such as quiz questions.

An accompanying booklet has been produced to support the lessons: “A Story of Women's Suffrage”. The book is narrated by suffragette Annie Kenney, who is also featured in our new mural in the Lane Building.

The full booklet can be found by clicking on the image below. We are making this booklet freely available for all to download, but we are grateful for donations to help cover the costs of producing it, which can be made online here.



Our Planet Season

We are delighted to announce that from January to June 2019 the Rumble Museum is running an Our Planet Season.

This season is a celebration of the amazing diversity of life on earth, and explores natural history and biofacts, latest scientific discoveries, as well as the rich human history of our planet. The season includes a wide range of exciting events, exhibitions, talks, workshops, film viewings and other activities.  It includes our major annual festival, themed this year on Natural History in particular, on 27th March, as well as a Global Awareness Festival, a Stargazing event, a bird exhibition, and a number of pop-up events throughout the next few months.

There will also be a range of competitions and projects, including our Dragonfly Trail project and our Weird Fishes project.

This season is an especially exciting season as we also celebrate submitting our final application for full Arts Council Museum Accreditation. Our Planet Season will be able to showcase the many exciting exhibitions and artefacts in our collections in a variety of new ways. You can keep up-to-date with our latest announcements, projects, events and other items on the Our Planet Season blog.

We look forward to seeing you at an Our Planet event soon!

Women's Suffrage Season at the Rumble Museum

This year, The Rumble Museum at Cheney is running a variety of projects, exhibitions, talks and workshops to explore the story of Women’s Suffrage in the UK and beyond.

There will be a variety of pop-up exhibitions and events throughout the year, starting with Year Eight students creating an alternative guide to the Weston Library’s Exhibition “From Sappho to Suffrage” and culminating with an all day event on 14th December to mark the first time women in England voted in a general election.

Model Dragonflies at Cheney

In 2019, The Rumble Museum created an exciting new piece of public art in the form of a model Dragonfly Trail around Cheney School’s site.

Eight large (five foot long and five foot wing span) dragonfly models were installed in March. The dragonfly models each had their theme designed by Cheney Art students to represent different areas of learning. They are striking, colourful and educational works of art which have provided an inspiring outdoor art exhibition for students, staff and visitors. The trail was unveiled for the public at the Iris Festival of Natural History & More at Cheney School on 27th March, 2019.

We also gave six miniature dragonflies for local primary schools to theme and bring for the day of the festival to be included in the trail on the day. East Oxford Primary, Bayards Hill, St Mary & St John, St Andrew’s, St Ebbe’s and Windmill all decorated a model. You can explore their designs on a special Dragonfly Trail website.



From Sappho to Suffrage: Exhibition Project

This week, we were delighted that Rosie Sharkey, Outreach Officer from the Bodleian Library, visited some Year Eight History students to deliver the first session of a wider project involving the Library's forthcoming "From Sappho to Suffrage: Women Who Dared" Exhibition.

Twenty seven Year Eight students, who have already been experiencing artefact handling and museum learning through the Rumble Museum here at Cheney, have the exciting opportunity to work with Rosie and curators at the Bodleian Library, in order to create an alternative guide booklet for the exhibition. Over the next few sessions, the students will be choosing women from the exhibition to focus on, and preparing their material, as well as working with an artist to create the booklets on a "risograph" on the 10th March at the exhibition!