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The Ocean Between Us – Talk Sat 27 Sept

September 19, 2014

On Saturday 27 September our Big Saturday is Discover The Pacific. This is a day of discovery and exploration for all ages. Inspired by the Museum’s Living Cultures collection, September’s Big Saturday will take you to the South Pacific. Make your own Hawaiian flower lei to wear as you explore the Museum and learn about the fascinating cultures and diverse environments of the Pacific.

As part of this day we’ll be joined byProfessor Karen Sykes, from Manchester University who will talking about her work at 2pm.

The Ocean Between Us

Sat 27 November, 2-4pm

This short talk looks at how the Pacific Ocean links people to each other and to the rest of the world through history. My story begins in Manchester, and ends on the opposite side of the world in an era when the distances separating the people of Oceania and Britain were difficult to comprehend. In the course of the talk we will see how that distance was crossed, and even how the south seas were reimagined as means to connect us.

All activities are free and drop in.

60 secs Oxjam Manchester Museum Takeover

September 18, 2014

Thanks to the Oxjam Manchester team for sharing this short 60 second film of the After Hours on 4 September. Good luck for the main fundraising event on 4 and 5 October.

‘In the Footsteps of Alexander’ with Michael Wood at Manchester Museum

September 16, 2014


Thanks to Bryan Sitch for this wonderful blog about Michael Wood’s talk at the Museum last night.

Originally posted on Ancient Worlds:

Michael Wood speaking about in the footsteps of Alexander at Manchester Museum

Michael Wood speaking about in the footsteps of Alexander at Manchester Museum

Last night Michael Wood, Professor of Public History at the University of Manchester, gave a public lecture entitled ‘In the footsteps of Alexander: a fresh look at an epic journey’. This drew on the popular 1998 TV series in which Prof Wood re-traced the epic journey of Alexander the Great. In his talk Professor Wood updated the story with new material from the currently beleaguered areas of Syria and Northern Iraq, and illustrated his talk with stunning pictures of the regions Alexander visited and showed clips from his documentary series.

Objects on display

Objects on display

As part of the welcome in the Museum foyer I was asked to show some objects from about the time of Alexander and it was a great pleasure to bring out a tray of ancient Greek coins and some Achaemenid Persian pottery from the site of Yanik Tepe in northern Iran.

View original 536 more words


September 15, 2014


Wonderstruck Singing Workshop

Sat 27 or Sun 28 Sep, 1.30-4.30pm

Drop-in, free, adults.

Each session is the same: join us for whichever is most convenient.

Would you like to perform in Manchester Museum as part of a remarkable Weekend of Wonder?

We’re looking for keen singers to participate in Wonderstruck, an exciting large-scale performance taking place over the weekend of 15-16 November 2014.

Created by Daniel Bye, Sarah Punshon and Boff Whalley, and inspired by the Museum’s collections, Wonderstruck will combine text, movement and song to create a weekend of wonderful surprises for Museum visitors.

We’re putting together a special choir of volunteer singers to take part, with original songs composed especially for them by Boff Whalley, formerly of pop-punk-folk band Chumbawamba.

Are you happy to sing a capella? Interested in trying something a bit different? Available for some evening and weekend rehearsals in November?

Come along to this introductory workshop to meet Dan, Sarah and Boff, and find out more.

All keen singers welcome, male or female, old or young. You don’t need to be able to read music, you don’t need to be an opera singer: if you like to sing, we’d like to meet you.

If you have any questions before hand please contact Anna Bunney, Curator of Public Programmes on 0161 306 1581 or e-mail

Global explorer guest blog

September 5, 2014

Guest Blog by Sajia Sultana

Hello! My name is Sajia Sultana and I am a third year Psychology student at the University of Manchester. I am currently a summer public programme intern at the museum and my role involves documentation and evaluation of the summer programme activities.

What have I been doing over the summer? I have experienced facets of the public program. I have attended Big Saturdays, outreach events, Baby Explorers, Magic carpet sessions, and Global Explorer activities. I have documented the summer activities in a number ways. I have been taking of images of families engaging in various activities, one word comments describing visitor’s day at the museum, Global Explorer floor book with a series of questions, recording visitor comments and lastly postcards.

The highlight of my internship with the summer public programme has definitely got to be the Travel the world Big Saturday. It was truly spectacular to see families enjoying music performances from around the world. My favourite performance of the day was the Chinese fan dance with Mei Mei Wu, which resembles fields of butterfly. I will now be a regular visitor at the Big Saturday events!

Don’t miss the next Big Saturday on 27TH of September, 11am-4pm. This Big Saturday will take you to the South Pacific. Make your own Hawaiian flower lei to wear as you explore the Museum and learn about the fascinating cultures and diverse environments of the Pacific. Follow the link to find out more:

Announcing Line up for Oxjam Manchester After Hours

September 3, 2014

Here is the latest line up for the Oxjam Manchester After Hours Takeover

5.30-7pm: Explore our Living Cultures and Manchester Galleries, watch films about Indigenous Australians and join artist Lauren Mullarkey to create attractive works which explore textile manipulation techniques using fabrics from around the world. At 6pm, meet Stephen Welsh, Curator of Living Cultures for a highlight tour of the gallery. The Museum café will also be open.

7pm-9pm: After Hours moves over to our Living Worlds gallery. Join us for the rest of the evening’s performances

7.15pm: Talk by Dr Caroline Bithell – Senior Lecturer in Ethnomusicology at The University of Manchester

7.30-8pm: Wangari A high energy, all female drumming performance band

8.15-8.45pm: July Julay Bachata and Salsa singer from the Dominican Republic

Oxjam Manchester – Takeover After Hours

Oxjam Manchester Thursday 4 September 5.30-9pm.

Join us as we team up with Oxjam for an eclectic evening exploring how music plays an integral part in cultures around the world and can help galvanise the fight against global poverty.

There will be objects on show from our Living Cultures collection, craft activities, talks and film showings. Later Oxjam will take over our stunning Living Worlds gallery to showcase local musicians in the run up to their annual Northern Quarter fundraising festival (4 and 5 October) for Oxfam.

Join artist Lauren Mullarkey to create attractive works which explore textile manipulation techniques using fabrics from around the world.

Live music from: – Bachata and Salsa singer from the Dominican Republic – A high energy, all female drumming performance band

Speakers include: Dr Caroline Bithell – Senior Lecturer in Ethnomusicology at The University of Manchester

For updates on the programme please check out the Manchester Oxjam website or facebook page, Museum Meets blog or twitter.


Price: Drop-in, free, adults


Tai Chi and Animal Influences

September 2, 2014

open.php?u=ad1937c0fc699038fde7d3294&id=9fa67dd6ca&e=46bd6fdf5f Join us for September’s Collection Bites – Tai Chi and Animal Influences

1.05-2pm. Join Colin Hughes as he explores this ancient Chinese health and martial art and its influences from the Animal Kingdom. Expect to try some gentle Tai Chi moves as Colin explains how animals as diverse as a silkworm, snake, squid and stork, bear, tiger and dragon have influenced how Tai Chi has developed, and is now practiced primarily as an exercise for health. Ancient masters observed how animals moved and mimicked aspects of their form and movement as they developed the graceful exercise and fighting forms that we now know as Tai Chi.

Price: Book on 0161 275 2648 or museum, free, adults

Below is a blog post by Deiniol Williams, who visited August’s Collection Bites.

Ceramic Conservation

By Deiniol Williams on 27 Aug 2014 09:08 pm

Manchester Museum – Collection Bites: Out of the Blue

Recently conserved Romano-Egyptian pot – Manchester Museum (The University of Manchester). Image by Irit Narkiss

A few weeks ago I went to a talk by Irit Narkiss, a conservator at Manchester Museum. Irit’s talk was about her investigative conservation of a faïence Romano-Egyptian pot.

Irit’s talk was one of a series of talks at Manchester Museum called ‘Collection Bites’.

Irit explained that a museum’s responsibility is not to restore, but to conserve and prevent further degradation to an object. It is important that you can tell which parts are original and which parts are repairs, and the reason behind this is that it helps people visualise the piece as a whole. It may be difficult when there are many pieces missing from an object, but it is important that any repairs done don’t trick people into thinking it is a complete piece. The repairs must stand out enough to be obvious. Irit explained it is not restoration but conservation, a very important distinction.

Egyptian Faïence

Egyptian faïence is a clay-like substance but it is made up from Silica (crushed quartz or sand), Potash (plant ash), and Limestone. Clay is not normally used in making Egyptian faïence, however it may have been mixed in to help make larger items such as the pot in question. The additions of copper and cobalt gives the traditional turquoise or blue colours to the faïence.

The original pot Irit was working on had most of the rim missing and part of one of the handles. It had previously been restored by someone before it became part of the Manchester Museum collection, however, the original restoration was rather crude and badly done.

Investigative Conservation

Irit explained the process of investigative conservation which began with research into the history of the pot and looking for similar pieces to compare. This was followed by careful examination of the pot to try and work out if it was possible and how best to remove the old repairs without damaging the original object. Next, tests were done with different materials and finishes which could be used to recreate the missing parts. The new pieces would have to be sympathetic to the original but importantly, could be removed at a later date if need be without damaging the original piece. Being able to remove the reconstructed parts is quite important because there is the possibility that in the future new information may come to light which may change current views on the object and it’s appearance.

All the way through the process images are taken to record the conservation work. Throughout the process a conservator will always be investigating the piece they are working on to ascertain it’s material properties, the method of production, and any clues to it’s use and role within a culture. Irit explained how she was able to take a small sample and send it away for analysis in an electron microscope to find out more about the chemical make-up and structure of the faïence.

I found the talk to be fascinating and very informative, and it helped explain the conservator’s role within a museum environment. As a potter myself, this is an area which I know very little about although I have spent many hours studying old pots in museum collections. I always find it frustrating that I can’t handle an object and interact with it so that I can better understand it’s form and finish and maybe glean more of it’s hidden nuances. However, I understand that a museum’s prerogative is to conserve an object for future generations and that being displayed in controlled conditions along with minimal handling is the safest way to do this.

Buckley Jug

Buckley Blackware Jug in the collection of Deiniol Williams

Following on from the talk, I began thinking about an old Buckley black-ware jug which belonged to my Mamgu (my Welsh grandmother). It will have been made along with thousands more at some point in the 1800’s. There are a few around if you know where to look but many didn’t survive as they we’re viewed as utensils and not the ‘best crockery’, and hence weren’t cared for in the same way. This particular pot though being earthenware and porous, has absorbed salt into the body through years of use, which is now leaching out and forming crystals and consequently causing parts of the glaze to fall off. If left to carry on, all the glaze will eventually fall off including parts of the ceramic body itself.

Now this object isn’t of great monetary worth (or so I believe), but it is worth a lot to me as it’s an emotional link to my family, and also a link to the old Buckley potteries of North Wales.

It is now at a critical point where if I leave it any longer, large areas of glaze are going to fall off. As you can see the jug it is already showing some serious signs of degradation. I shall have to do some research to find out what the best course of action is, and to find out if it’s even possible to save it from it’s inevitable fate.

If I am able to save it from further damage I shall let you know.

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