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Manchester Museum Online - Homeschooling, volunteering, Egyptology, Cultural First Aid Kits and more

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by David Keyworth (subscribe)
Im a freelance journalist and published poet, based in Manchester. My debut poetry pamphlet is available at
Published April 13th 2020
Virtual days and nights at the museum
Manchester Museum has opened an online door to its treasures, whilst its building on Oxford Road remains firmly shut, due to COVID-19.

Although Manchester Museum has, like most institutions, an assortment of online resources, the shutdown has given it the opportunity to 'curate' those resources "in one place on an easy to navigate site."

Esme Ward, Director of Manchester Museum said: "There are multilingual exhibitions, films, a Cultural First Aid Kit for carers, home-schooling resources and a daily dose of awe and wonder in our Encyclopaedia of Wondrous Objects."

Homeschooling resources include a 'super booklet' on The Vivarium ("notable for its large collection of Costa Rican Frogs") and activity sheets focusing on the museum's Ancient Egypt and Sudan collection of over 18,000 objects.

The Cultural First Aid Kit offers activities and workshops created by artists, musicians and therapists for people to carry out themselves or with family and friends. Each activity has step by step instructions and aims to "offer accessible and creative ways to convalesce and restore health and wellbeing."

Crocheting flowers and puppet making are amongst the new skills to pick up in Springtime Craft, in collaboration with the Manchester Craft Mafia.

The Encyclopaedia of Wondrous Objects includes the herbarium - a snapshot of Victorian-era gardening - created by Manchester botanist, author & teacher Leopold Hartley Grindon.

Those with the time and inclination can volunteer online to help the museum archive its collection of over 4.5 million objects.

Fancy yourself as an Egyptologist? The online course Ancient Egypt a history in six objects, promises "at the end of this course students will be able to identify the main periods of ancient Egyptian history, and refer to evidence key to our understanding of this time."

Exhibitions & Displays include the unlikely promise of 'falling in love with the world of insects' and (virtually) digging up the hidden stories of Manchester Museum's mineral collection.

A garden seat is not the most thrilling attraction but it is worth lingering longer when the large hollow blue and white porcelain seat dates from the time of the Chinese Ming Emperor Wanli (reigned 1573-1620).

The exhibit celebrates the tenth anniversary of the Sir Percival David Collection at the British Museum and is a 'touring spotlight loan'. Sir Percival lent to the great exhibition of Chinese art in London in 1935 and raised money for China during the Second World War.

Last year, the museum revisited the brutal history of the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre. In Memories of Partition the museum recorded the recollections and experiences of members of Manchester's South Asian communities. The project was a collaboration with Manchester BME network, Royal Exchange Theatre and Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre. It can be seen here Memories of Partition

Manchester Museum in Quarantine includes, in summary:

Current exhibitions and displays Beauty & the Beasts, A Ming Emperor's Seat and Minerals: Sustainability and Hidden Stories. There is also a multilingual interpretation available.

Overlooked and rarely told histories is a resource that helps shed light on the things they didn't teach us in schools.

Homeschooling and fun activities for the family.

Activities and workshop ideas for carers that can be completed at home, including a Cultural First Aid Kit produced in collaboration with The Whitworth. The activities have been created by artists, musicians and therapists.

Online volunteering opportunities to help archive the museum's collections and online learning courses about the Egyptology collection.

'Encyclopedia of Wondrous Objects': the museum's encyclopedic collection of over 4.5 million objects.

Manchester Museum is due to open a new South Asia gallery in 2021. The 13.5m project will draw on Manchester's strong historic links with the Indian subcontinent, which resulted from the textile trade.

The origins of The Manchester Museum lie in the collection of the Manchester manufacturer and collector John Leigh Philips (1761-1814). After his death, a small group of wealthy men banded together to buy his 'cabinet', and in 1821 they set up the Manchester Natural History Society. The museum expanded in 1977 into the former Dental School. It is a university museum and its collections, including dinosaurs, mummies and live animals, are designated by the government as being of national and international importance.

Manchester Museum, South Asia gallery, Indo-UK history, Manchester Museum in Quarantine, online resources, homeschooling
The first floor of the museum in 1903. By Internet Archive Book Images book page:, No restrictions,

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Why? Visit and learn at the museum online
Phone: 0161 275 2648
Where: Manchester Museum The University of Manchester Oxford Road Manchester M13 9PL
Cost: Free
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