Enquiremanchester’s Weblog

The Manchester Museum is the lead museum in the North West Manchester cluster in a national project about art and learning for engage called ‘enquire’

Poems and Museums December 8, 2009

As part of our Magpie Speaking and Listening project for Secondary Schools we’re planning on including an element of poetry and wanted to link this with the museum visit.  A call out to Manchester Museum staff and members of Poets on Fire online forum for poem suggestions met with an over-whelming response.  Whilst we can’t use all these suggestions within our current project, I thought this would make a fantastic archive for potential future projects/visits/work… So here’s the list (in no particular order)… feel free to add to it with your comments!  Please note I haven’t followed up on all these recommendations so please add your own links or corrections by commenting on this post.

Poems:

The Magic Box by Kit Wright

Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Ozymandias (also known as On A Stupendous Leg of Granite, Discovered Standing by Itself in the Deserts of Egypt, with the Inscription Inserted Below) by Horace Smith

In a Museum by Thomas Hardy

Relic by Ted Hughes

The Old Curiosity Shop

The Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford by James Fenton (features in a book by Suzanne Keane called Fragments of the World)

Fragments of the world also includes:

– Flea Market by John Fuller

– Poetry by Saadi Youssef

– The Treasure and the Dragon, a short extract from Beowulf

The Crystal Cabinet by William Blake

Ode to a Grecian Urn by John Keats

Winter Quarters by Pete Didsbury

The British Museum by Peter Didsbury in Scenes from a Long Sleep

The Chambered Nautilus by Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809 – 1894)

The Room of Saints and Virgins by Jean Sprackland in her collection, Hard Water.

The Natural History Museum by Kate Clanchy published in her collection Samarkand.

Museum Piece by Richard Wilbur

The Dolls Museum in Berlin by Eavan Boland

Archaic Torso of Apollo by Rainer Maria Rilke

Subject by Kate Potts (about a medical museum in her t-l Pilot pamphlet)

The Jade Corridor by Richard Marggraf Turley in his Salt collection

Museum of the Forest by Matthew Francis

In the Wedding Museum in The Book of Love

Red Rackham’s Treasure by Lavinia Greenlaw

An Ovaltine Tin… by Paul Farley in Bum on Fire

The Sea Cabinet by Catriona O’Reilly

Natural History by Kate Bingham in Quicksand Beach

Into the Rothko Installation by Peter Redgrove
Musee des Beaux Arts by W H Auden
The British Museum Reading Room by Louis MacNeice

The Theological Museum by Paul Stubb from his 2005 Flambard collection of the same name

The Black Museum in David Harsent’s Selected

Fox in the National Museum of Wales by Robert Minhinnick

The Green-Handled Knife by Martyn Crucefix

Blogs:

Lindowmanchester.wordpress.com

Books:

Past Poetic Archaeology in the Poetry of W.B.Yeats and Seamus Heaney (2004) by Christine Finn

Behind the Scenes at the Museum (1995) by Kate Atkinson [fiction]

Selected by Lee Harwood includes a poem about his father and a museum

The American Poetry Wax Museum: Reality Effects, 1940-1990 by Jed Rasula

Recollections by Maureen Almond (produced during a residency at The Museum of Antiquities, Newcastle upon Tyne)

Other links:

A good search engine: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/search.htm…useum&x=39&y=11
A poetry competition: http://www.dlrcoco.ie/library/f02en.htm

 

How we see objects March 10, 2009

St Peter’s RC High School students came to the museum and chose objects to draw without looking at the labels, then they drew broken objects, and finally they tried to make sense of a bunch of items from the ethonography collections.  What was artist Paul Needham thinking when he asked them to do this?!  And what did the students get out of it?

The idea behind all this was that Paul thinks there’s more than one way to look at an object, from making a lassoo carved from wood to an ‘impossible’ elastic band formed around a fixed rail.

St Peter’s threw themselves into the challenge of deciphering the museum objects, coming up with a whole host of ideas for their possible uses and histories as well as agreeing with some of the labels given to them by the museum!

 

Art Forms in Nature – in the Life Lab November 11, 2008

dsc004551Last week we were joined by 15 students from Droylesden High School for Girls their teacher who took part in our Art Forms in Nature session up in the Life Lab and down in the birds and insects gallery below.

The girls seemed to be interested in what was going on at the museum from the moment they arrived. Only two of the 15 students had been to a museum before, yet they were soon keying into current debates like the ethics of having human remains and animal remains on display.

The beginning of the session asked the students to interpret scientific illustrations for themselves without any prior knowledge of what they are looking at. This is not an easy task for any artist or art historian but the students were soon coming up with a range of their own interpretations which showed how just by looking and discussing they could understand how art works communicate ideas for themselves.

dsc004571After identifying a range of creative techniques, the students went down onto the galleries to draw from the real insects and birds on display. They were challenged with a number of experimental drawing techniques which reminded them to take risks with their work and not to always be so focused on final outcomes. Two drawings stood out from this, a bird and a butterfly – both drawn with the wrong hand – looked as if they could have just fluttered away.

In the final part of the session the girls developed their drawings into design ideas for furniture, jewelery, wallpaper or architecture. This part of the session involved the girls thinking about how they could turn their documentation of natural objects into a functional design. This was a big step to take within the two hour session but meant the students had the chance to experiment with a range of materials and see how their research at the museum could be turned into something useful.

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