University of Cambridge Museums

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Helping you to find a ‘way in’

During the past week, a fellow PGCE Primary teacher trainee and I have been inspired by the education departments of The Museum of Cambridge, The Sedgwick Museum, The Museum of Classical Archaeology and The Fitzwilliam Museum.  What these museums have to offer families, schools and people of all ages means that whether you’re 18 months old, pushing 100 or any of the years in between these educational teams are thinking and planning for you, respecting and valuing your ideas.  Between the artefacts, collections and buildings themselves there is an infinite number of stories to tell.

A way inThe Fitzwilliam Museum was our home for the majority of the week, where we seized the opportunity to make connections and explore age appropriate strategies that elicit and scaffold curiosity towards the unearthing and articulation of a web of ideas.  Through a three way dialogue between subject, object and the museum educator/facilitator skills of observation are guided and honed as meaning and understanding are threaded and shaped by emergent narrative. Reading a painting with your imagination and appealing to all your senses sparks confidence in the reader.  In engaging guided sessions the familiar features are enhanced, questions are celebrated. Tempted by fascination, thoughts safely flow.

Within the walls of a museum there is an incredible potential to recognise objects, not as distant relics but instead as significant pieces of information and connected through time.  The museum skilfully brings the past into the present moment, as the real object stands before you or indeed you can journey back in time to meet the creator.  In a powerful moment of realisation the familiarity and humanness of many of the collections lead to a mutual respect between observer and artefact, lending validity to their own point of view.

If you fancy an epic adventure then find, tell and create stories out of the multitude of characters, locations and situations; interact, interpret and become authors through your self-expression; be artists, scientists, philosophers or put on your deer stalker, join up the dots and solve a mystery.  These museums are collections of ideas waiting to be inherited, carefully presented in recognition of the significance of the experience, enjoy a new age of exploration.

Peter Bardsley, Primary PGCE student at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge

One comment on “Helping you to find a ‘way in’

  1. Pingback: Spiral Bound | University of Cambridge Museums

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Close up of #conservation in action on a conical mans #hat or #helmet from #Nagaland, #Northeast #India bordering #Myanmar.  The #object is made from coarsely #plaited #brown cane. It has two frontal discs covered with #red #seeds surrounded by #white seeds. Conservation is being carried out to remove the fine layer of #dust and #dirt that has collected on the surface and to secure any loose seeds. It will go on display at the #Museum of #Archaeology and #Anthropology in #Cambridge in #2017 for an #exhibition called #Another #India #Museums A Roman copy of #Apollo #Belvedere at the #Museum of #Classical #Archaeology #Cambridge.  The #original #sculpture (now in the #Vatican Museums) was discovered in the late #15th #century. When found he was missing his hands. They were #restored to show Apollo having just fired an arrow from his bow.  #Classics #Casts #Classical #AncientRome #AncientGreece #history #ancient #art #statues #model #sculpt #antiquity #Rome #Greece Chinese Headdress on display at #Museum of #Archaeology and #Anthropology #Cambridge.  This #headdress is made with #blue #feathers of the #king-fisher and is dated from the #pre-#Manchu #style (19th - early 20th century)  The headdress appears to have been ordered by the #emperor for a very high ranking lady, possibly the #queen or a leading #concubine. Only the queen was allowed to #wear #phoenix on her #head (as only the #king was allowed to wear the #dragon) #museums #instamuseum #history #china #adornment #decorative #pink #jewels #gold #design #costume #fashion Close up of #Crystal structure #model: #silver #phosphate in the #Whipple Museum of the #History of #Science #Cambridge.  This model demonstrates the #cubic crystal structure of #silver phosphate. Its shows the #relative  arrangement of silver (#gold), #phosphorous (#purple) and #oxygen (#red) #atoms in a rigid crystal #lattice.  It was made by Crystal Structure Limited in Cambridge in the mid #20th #century #CambridgeUniversity #Sciences #Chemistry #atom #museums #sciencemuseums #instamuseum #structures #Penguin #egg on display at the #Polar #Museum @scott.polar #Cambridge. This egg was collected by Surgeon Lieut. E.L Atkinson during #Captain #Scott's #British #Antarctic (#Terra #Nova) #expedition 1910 - 13.  The #species is not certain but it is probably Adelie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) #Museums #instamuseum #cbgtown #penguins #exploration #polarregion #ice #cold Close up of #Fluxon #Gabbro a thin section view in polarised light showing colourful #pyroxene #crystals and striped laths of #plagioclase feldspar at the #Sedgwick #Museum of #Earth #Sciences.  #Plagioclase is a #tectosilicate - a #rock forming #mineral constituting approx. 90 percent of the #crust of the earth. It can also be found on the #Moon and the crust of #Mars #geology #rocks #patterns #crystal #science #Cambridge #instamuseum #Museums #cbgtown
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