Manchester Museum (part of The University of Manchester) is launching the UK’s first Inflatable Museum which will bring the museum experience to school halls all over Greater Manchester.
Developed in partnership with stage designers and sound artists, this inflatable copy of Manchester Museum incorporates a performance area, exploratory activity spaces, and high quality projection and audio equipment.
Funded with the support of The Zochonis Charitable Trust, the Inflatable Museum project is part of the widening participation strategy of The University of Manchester, which connects young people from some of Greater Manchester’s most disadvantaged areas to the Museum’s collection.
Beginning with pupils from five partner primary schools based in local Longsight, Levenshulme and Crumpsall, the Inflatable Museum project will deliver workshops in school halls across Greater Manchester. The Inflatable Museum will recreate the sense of wonder the Museum naturally conjures, assisting in extending children’s classroom learning.
Dr Nick Merriman, Director of Manchester Museum, said: “Manchester Museum has the oldest continuous free museum education programme in the UK, and we are delighted to move it into its next phase with our quirky and innovative Inflatable Museum. It will allow the Museum to meet the demand for our oversubscribed schools programme in a fun and accessible way.”
Manchester Museum has the oldest continuous free museum education programme in the UK, and we are delighted to move it into its next phase with our quirky and innovative Inflatable Museum
Each year, Manchester Museum offers engaging and interactive ‘out of school’ cultural and learning experiences to approximately 25,000 early years and primary pupils, and 5,000 secondary and post-16 students from across Greater Manchester and the surrounding area. However, with in-Museum visits already at capacity and demand for workshops growing all the time, the development of the new outreach programme is essential to growing the Museum’s reach further.
Transportable in the Museum van and inflatable in less in 30 minutes, the Inflatable Museum is a dynamic space capable of accommodating a full class, and designed with ultimate flexibility in mind. Incorporating moveable ‘cabinets’, a large, open presentation area, and HD projection equipment, the Inflatable Museum’s adaptability reflects the diversity of Manchester Museum’s work, and represents the ideal environment in which to safely handle real objects and specimens from the collection.
The Inflatable Museum will be launching in Albert Square, on Wednesday 13 April, from 8am – 6pm, outside Manchester Town Hall. This Manchester landmark was chosen as it is designed by the renowned architect Sir Alfred Waterhouse, who also developed plans for Manchester Museum which opened in 1890.
Emma Martin, Stanley Grove Primary School, said: “We just can't wait to experience the Inflatable Museum! Some of our families are put off going to museums or galleries. This can be because of transport costs, not knowing what there is to see, but also feeling intimidated by grand old buildings. By bringing the inflatable out to us, it will stimulate curiosity and build a bridge between our community and Manchester Museum. What a fantastic idea!”