After months of hard work and careful research,Year Nine students at Cheney School presented their chosen Rumble Museum projects to parents, staff, students and museum curators.

This was part of a year-long project run by the school’s museum, which is overseen by Dr Lorna Robinson’s Iris Project, a charity which promotes learning about the ancient world.

For two hours, each student talked to visitors about what they had learned during their research, in front of display boards they had carefully prepared to introduce their topics. A dazzling range of projects were on display.

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Dr Robinson said: “Visitors were able to explore how social media might be displayed in museums, and even to create their own hashtag.

“They were also able to find out about local museums displaying human remains and explore the debate around this contentious issue.

“The importance of fungi in our lives, its beauty and its under-representation in museums was another topic on display.”

As well as this, the under-representation of trench art in museums was investigated in a different project.

Two projects explored the controversial topic of the Benin Bronzes from different angles: one investigating through an essay, and another creating a screenplay with a discussion between people with opposing views on the artefacts. In both cases, people were able to vote and give their own views.

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One project looked at the Ashmolean Museum through the lens of ancient Greek and Roman temples, seeing the ways in which these temples were examples of something like early museums, and the ways in which the Ashmolean emulates classical temples. Another compared the Ashmolean Museum to the Louvre, and explored the different impacts both museums had on visitors and the wider community.

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Another project looked at a recent exhibition about Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy, the ways in which the exhibition told the story of the book, and the parallels with modern ideas and approaches. Another looked at how museums have told stories through exhibitions about Alice in Wonderland, and museums’ ways of bringing these stories to life.

A third project imagined the stories from artefacts from the Ca Mau shipwreck.

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One pupil focused on colonialism and the return of objects and displays on the topic through exploring Kenyan artefacts. Another looked at the issue of colonialism “at home” by exploring the Highland Clearances.

One outstanding project involved the recreation of an item of Tudor clothing called a “kirtle”.

The exhibitor modelled the item of clothing she had made, and explained to visitors the process of making it, and how re-enactment clothing is important in museums.

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This story was written by Andy Ffrench, he joined the team more than 20 years ago and now covers community news across Oxfordshire.

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