Model Dragonflies at Cheney: Natural History and Art Trail

We are holding a large community Festival of Natural History, Art, Classics & More on March 27th 2019 from 3.30 until 6pm at Cheney School to celebrate the Rumble Museum at Cheney as it completes the Arts Council Accreditation process. The event's keynote speaker is Will Gompertz, BBC Chief Arts Correspondent.
As part of this celebration, we are creating an exciting new piece of public art in the form of a model Dragonfly Trail around the site. These dragonfly models will each have their theme designed by Cheney students to represent different areas of learning and and they will be permanent so that students, staff, and the wider community can explore them for years to come. They will be striking, colourful and educational works of art which will inspire the very diverse community of East Oxford and beyond.
There will be eight large dragonflies in our trail on site at Cheney School. We are also creating smaller ones 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 Ebbe's and Windmill will all be involved.
The designs for the dragonflies will be chosen in December and displayed on the website. The large, permanent models with be installed at Cheney School in February ready for the Festival. Each dragonfly will have display boards to note the artist, the meaning behind the design, the sponsor, and QR links to museum pages exploring dragonflies from a natural history, artistic and literary perspective.
We are looking for businesses and organisations who might like to sponsor a dragonfly by providing some of the costs towards the model. This sponsorship would be stated on a sign next to the dragonfly as well as on our website, and on the trail maps and brochures we produce. You can choose which themed dragonfly you would like to sponsor if you would like to do so. 
If you would be interested in supporting this initiative at such an exciting juncture in the museum's development, we would be delighted to hear from you!

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.


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.

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!

The Industrial Revolution and Living History Learning

This year, the Rumble Museum is working with a Year Eight History class, exploring ways to introduce artefacts and Living History learning into the curriculum.

The Year Eights have been learning about the Industrial Revolution and life in the workhouses, and the Rumble Museum helped design a Living History lesson on the Victorian workhouses.

 The Victorian workhouses were portrayed most famously and influentially by author Charles Dickens in his novel Oliver Twist. We began by placing the contents of a typical workhouse meal on each table. Everyone was given a spoon, and set in front of them was a bowl of gruel and some bread. In the rather ironic menu, butter was listed, but this was not on our menu list for Tuesday after all (and also not offered to men), so it was simply bread and gruel!

The History of Cheney School

This year, the Rumble Museum at Cheney has been working with Cheney alumni, students and staff on exploring the long and fascinating history of Cheney School.

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.

Living Museum

We are delighted to be launching a new project, the Living Museum, which enables students to explore, introduce and display objects from their own lives at the Rumble Museum.

The initiative involves children, staff and members of the wider community choosing an object from their homes and lives, and writing about why this object has become important to them, and what the object is. The objects they choose are then displayed in the Living Museum cabinet in the Rumble Museum for a period of time. Their stories will appear in display boards and also online on the Rumble Museum site.
The aim is to encourage children to engage with the objects in their own lives, exploring them from the perspective of the items as both personal and historical artefacts. 
Every term, the objects in the cabinet will change, as previous display objects will be returned to their owners, while new objects will appear, chosen, researched and written about by different students, staff and members of the wider community.
If you would like to submit an object for the Living Museum, please get in touch at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Westgate Project

During 2015, a group of Year Nine students had the opportunity to be involved in an exciting archaeological project run by Oxford Archaeology.The project involved two in-school workshops followed by a tour of the Westgate Centre site and excavation finds.

In the first session, Ben Ford (Project Manager of Westgate excavations at OA) used historic maps to show how the area has changed over time. Pupils used the maps to identify different land use, known buildings, road layouts, and rivers and they saw how the area around the Greyfriars and St Ebbes has changed. This showed how archaeologists learn about what is in an area before they start excavating.

In the second session, Jane Harrison (Oxford Castle Unlocked - Outreach and Education) looked at the historical background of the Greyfriars and the area. This gives archaeologists the background information about the type of site and remains that they could encounter.

Artefact Story Trails

One of the most exciting new projects we are developing together with the classics centre this year involves the design and creation of a number of murals which will explore possible biographies for some of the many Roman artefacts we have on display at the centre. 

Most of the items we have are pieces of much larger objects, and the idea behind these mural trails is to show the story of how some of these items would have been made and used, and eventually broken, and discovered centuries later as fragments. Each trail will consist of three murals which trace these stories; the artefact itself will then appear in small cabinet at the end of the mural trail. The trails will eventually appear all across the school campus, as well as in feeder schools.