Technology through Time Project

The Rumble Museum at Cheney School is excited to be working with the History of Science Museum on an exciting project to create some new technology displays in our new cabinets on the first floor of their Lane Building.

The school museum already houses a collection of technology items in our Technology through Time Collection. In order to develop our collections, we are calling for members of the wider community to loan or donate items to our collections. We already have a 1950s Bakelite Television, 1930s gramophone, a 1950s radio, a electric typewriter and a 1990s mobile phone and many other items in our collection, which are all on display at Cheney School. 

We plan to work with all Year Nine History students to explore both our own artefacts and ones which we are donated from the local community, and to create displays which narrate the stories of these objects in a way which connect with lots of strands of the school curriculum, from history and culture, to design and economy.

This week, Chris Parkin from the History of Science Museum has been running a series of workshops with the students to introduce the themes and objects. He will then work closely to co-curate a set of displays about the objects which will be accessible, engaging, and relevant to the lives and experiences of the 1700 students who visit the school site each day, as well as for the wider community of parents, staff, and visitors.

We are interested in any sort of technical item from any era, right up to present day, so if you have anything you'd be happy to loan or donate, please get in touch on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We are also looking for stories, memories and experiences of using these technologies to create an oral history of the collection. We are running a Collection and Exhibition Afternoon on 19th March. If you would like to share any memories or stories, please get in touch.


"Museum of Climate Hope" Project

The Museum of Climate Hope project is an exciting new project led by Bill Finnegan from the University of Oxford's School of Geography and the Environment. The project will create a digital trail across the six different University of Oxford locations in the city.  There will be one object in each place. Cheney’s  Rumble Museum has been invited to be the seventh location for the trail!

In order to choose our own objects for the trail, our Museum Councils drew up a shortlist of five possible objects to include in the trail. Every student at Cheney then had the opportunity to vote on which object best represents the theme of Climate Hope!

We also gave the wider community the chance to cast their vote on the five shortlisted objects from our collections. The objects chosen can be viewed below with text from our Museum Council students on why they have chosen the items.

Exploring Vaccines Project with 8* and Up classes at Cheney

In autumn 2022, students in 8* and 8Up classes at Cheney began an exciting Rumble Museum project delivered in partnership with the University of Oxford, Dr Philippa Matthews, Dr Sally Frampton and local science-based artist Dr Lizzie Burns.

It explored the use of vaccines in the past and present, as well as ideas about the future of vaccines too. It was part of a wider project, Infecting Minds, which was also delivered in two schools in South Africa, and ideas and artwork were shared between all schools involved. The project ran every Monday throughout October, November and December, and included a trip to explore plants and medicine at the Botanical Gardens. Students created artwork, posters and craft items in response to the wide variety of ideas and information about the past, present and future of vaccines.

In our first session, the groups drew self-portraits. They were then invited to express their thoughts about vaccines. After this, the group looked at a range of artefacts from the Covid pandemic, which have become very familiar in our daily lives, and to imagine what archaeologists from the future might make of these items. They included facemasks, lateral flow tests, and posters encouraging people to get vaccinated. Finally, everyone decorated a facemask with their own designs in response to the ideas and thoughts from the session.

Wild Escape Grant for Tree Trail Project with local primaries

We are delighted to announce that the Rumble Museum has been awarded a Wild Escape grant for an exciting project engaging primary school children with our natural history collections.

In partnership with the Oxford Natural History Museum, we have run tree trail tours and workshops for primary school groups on butterflies and biodiversity on site at the Rumble Museum. These workshops and trails introduced the children to the role and lifespan and homes of the British butterflies in our Rumble Museum collection, and explored the role of the butterflies in a biodiverse environment.

The children then take part in workshops run back at their own school which supported them in writing stories imagining these butterflies in our trees on site in the more nature-rich future. They have also created artwork for their stories.

These stories and artwork are being displayed in a special exhibition at the Natural History Museum on 22nd April to celebrate Earth Day.

We have greatly enjoyed working with Barton Park Primary, St Andrew's Primary and Wood Farm Primary on this project, and with Chris Jarvis from the Natural History Museum who ran fascinating workshops for the groups.

You can view the artwork and stories which the children have produced online here (this is still being added to).

The Wild Escape is made possible by lead support from Arts Council England’s National Lottery Project Grants, with additional support from Art Fund

British Butterflies

In June and July 2021, our Year Eight Museum Council each chose a favourite butterfly from our British Butterflies Collection and worked with local mosaicist Clare Goodall to create individual mosaics of each of the butterflies. The group installed the mosaics on an outside wall on C Block over the summer holidays.

From left to right, the butterflies are: brimstone, peacock, comma, common blue, red admiral, small copper, holly blue, chalkhill blue, black-veined white (now extinct in Britain), orange tip, wall brown, and large white.

From left to right, our student artists are: Tess Gimson, Scarlett Parsler, Cherie Liu, Rachel Robinson, Anna Deakin, Drew Milne, Catriona Baxter, Izzy Wearden, Imo Robinson Vilain, Adam Diesel, Logan Cameron, and Binamra Shrestha.

Rumble Tube Map

Last term, our Museum Council students worked with Rumble director Lorna to create a tube map of the Rumble Museum's collections and displays.

The tube map is an iconic design, loved by many, and its striking simplicity in mapping out the complex underground system made it an ideal way to map out the very varied and spread out nature of the Rumble collections and galleries! The students set to work on planning what the different lines should be, how they should intersect, and what colours they should be. Lines include "classics", "art", "nature", "science" and "future" lines. There is also a "protest" line featuring artefacts connected to protest throughout history such as our Suffragette and Racial Justice collections. A "literature" line explores dystopian fiction and Stranger Things-related objects from the 1980s.

They also invented the idea of a "beeline", which would be a special line that mapped out the "must see objects" in the museum. The beeline stops were chosen by Year Nine students and include an ancient Greek tetradrachm coin featuring Athena and her owl, a Victorian Albion Printing Press recently donated to the museum, our World War Two gas mask and Covid vaccine vials from the first roll-out of the vaccine, amongst many other items.

Other innovations they made to the tube map included making the crossover stops hexagon-shaped rather than round to reflect the hexagon theme of the Rumble Museum, and having large hexagon images on the main tube map as well as smaller signs showing the stand-out artefacts. 

Once they had all their ideas and designs in place, these were handed over to local designer Naomi Waite to turn into the beautiful map that you can see below. The huge (3 metre by 2 metre) map is appearing this week in main reception and also in the outside space, so students and visitors alike can enjoy it. A number of smaller signs will soon be appearing in individual buildings showing which lines run through those buildings and more must-see objects.

The Rumble Museum is planning to produce tickets for particular routes which can get stamped for different events throughout the year.


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.

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.

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:

"Stories through Objects": New Series for Hospital Radio

Over the next few weeks, the Rumble Museum is making a series of shows called "Stories through Objects" for Radio Cherwell, the Hospital Radio Service.

Each show will explore a different story, and use objects from our collection and songs to journey through the themes, characters and places in the stories.

The shows are aired every Friday from 1.30 to 2pm, and then repeated on Mondays at 1.30pm. You can listen to these shows on the Radio Cherwell website. We make the voice recordings, playlists details and objects featured available once the live shows have aired. Please see below for the shows.

Episode 1: 17th and 20th April - Homer's Odyssey

Episode 2: 24th and 27th April - Orpheus and the Underworld

Episode 3: 1st and 4th May - Theseus and the Minotaur

Episode 4: 8th and 11th May - Echo and Narcissus

Episode 5: 15th and 18th May - Peleus and Thetis' Wedding

Episode 6: 22nd and 25th May - Daedalus and Icarus

Episode 7: 29th May and 1st June - Prometheus and Zeus

Episode 8: 5th and 8th June - The Creation of the World

Episode 9: 12th and 15th June - Dionysus

Episode 10: 19th and 22nd June: The Founding of Rome




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.

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.