With over 4.5 million objects and specimens from both the natural and human worlds, Manchester Museum, part of The University of Manchester, is the largest University Museum in the United Kingdom. By virtue of its position within The University of Manchester, learning and research are central to Manchester Museum’s work. The Museum has a track-record of educational work, from the ‘Children’s Museum Club’, a travelling school loans service set up in 1954, to the founding of a dedicated Education Department in 1981. Throughout its long history, the Museum has always held objects and collections at the heart of its popular learning offer. More recently, the growth of the learning team led to the creation of a set of learning principles to underpin its work. These principles – that learning should be object-centred, dialogic, imaginative, personalised, multi-sensory, collaborative and exploratory – are all based on inquiry-based learning and aim to foster a research-based disposition in learners.
As a University Museum with engagement at its heart, Manchester Museum is now looking to transform the third floor of its building into a space themed entirely around ‘research’. This redevelopment, due to open in March 2015, will see the creation of a new visitor research space – ‘The Study’. This unique development will extend the successful inquiry-based learning approach used with schools and colleges, into a public research space for all visitors, with collections at its heart.
Munro, M. and Chalk, H.-L. (2014), "Creating an ‘Emporium of Wonder’ at Manchester Museum", Inquiry-based Learning for Faculty and Institutional Development: A Conceptual and Practical Resource for Educators (Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning, Vol. 1), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 243-270. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2055-364120140000001013
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