Welcome to the blog page for the Rumble Museum Student Council.
The Museum Council is a group of Cheney students who meet each week and work together with the Museum Director, Dr Lorna Robinson, and Museum Lead, Mr David Gimson, on shaping the direction, role and displays of the museum within the school and beyond.
We were delighted to welcome Karen Riley, Director of the S.C.R.A.P. Gallery in California, to our Museum Council session this morning. Karen had stayed up late specially in order to deliver the session!
The S.C.R.A.P. Gallery is a unique children’s art and environmental conservation museum in the eastern Coachella Valley in California. It works with children of all ages to make beautiful museum installations out of rubbish that might go to landfill. Karen explained that some of the installations they make are large, like a bridge made out of tyres, and others are small.
Since last week, you have been very industrious at visiting your section of the tree trail site and taking lots of wonderful photographs of our trees. Some of you had a go at creating a tree trail map for each of your areas. Thank you for your amazing hard work! Below are some of your many amazing photographs.
In today’s Museum Council meeting, we started by looking at a few artefacts from a large and fascinating collection which has been very kindly donated to us by a local resident. I showed you a finger piano, a quiver, a drum, a turtle shell and a bone from the neck of a giraffe.
All these items come from Africa, and in the coming weeks, I will be consulting with experts from local museums, and also working with you in order to explore how we might interpret and display these beautiful and diverse items around school.
In our last session of term, we started by looking at just a few examples of the immense variety and spectacular nature of some of the trees on our planet.
We started with this amazing rainbow eucalyptus tree, whose colourful bark looks like melted crayons! We saw a bristlecone tree, which can live for over 5000 years, and a baobab tree, which has a huge trunk filled with water to survive arid environments. We also saw the quite otherworldly looking dragonblood trees, which have crimson sap which is used for all sorts of things, from dyeing to folk remedies.
In this week’s session, we were very lucky to be able to virtually meet forest scientist Gabriel Hemery. Gabriel has spent his whole life working with trees in a variety of ways, and he has published a number of books. Gabriel started by telling us a bit about the very wide variety of work that goes on in a forest, ranging from conservation and sustainability (planting trees and learning more about the sorts of wildlife that inhabit trees, or looking at how wood can replace plastic) to architecture (building things out of wood). Gabriel himself was off to plant a few hundred trees later today!
He asked us all to look around our classroom and identify areas where wood had been used. You quickly spotted the tables, doors, window frames, and paper. Gabriel pointed out that the ceiling would probably have wooden beams behind the plaster, and the floor might also have some wood. So wood really is everywhere in our daily lives.
Gabriel talked about the enormous range of species of tree, and the difference between native species (before the channel had been crossed) and “exotic” or “alien” species. He asked you to guess how many types of oak tree there might be in Britain. You guessed between forty and sixty species. Gabriel informed us that there are two native species, but worldwide, there are thousands. If you go into woodland, therefore, you might find only one type, but in a park or space that has been cultivated, it is much more difficult to identify trees. Gabriel commented on some of the beautiful photographs you sent in of your favourite trees. He really liked Imo’s comment that she had suddenly noticed a tree that she goes past every day. He also really liked Catriona’s choice of the cedar, and noted the difficulty of identifying which sort of tree. He enjoyed Maddie’s beautiful tree too – and in fact, all of the photographs he enjoyed very much – well done!
He showed us some of the beautiful artwork of trees and their leaves and fruit in one of his books, and also told us about a recent book which looked at stories involving trees. This led into his introduction of a really exciting project which Gabriel is starting called Tree Letters. Gabriel is planting a number of capsules around the country on different trees. Each capsule contains a letter which Gabriel has written to the tree, and a link to a website with a password, which enables people to write their own letters in response. These letters can be written about any tree. One of these capsules is on its way to Cheney, and I will put it up in the next few days. You can also, though, find the letter and the link posted below. Gabrel kindly read this letter to us.
If you would like to send a letter to a tree, please send it to me, and I will pass these directly to Gabriel. He will be publishing many of these letters he receives in a book!
Time flew so quickly that we didn’t have time to talk about your tree trail ideas with hum, so I have sent these by email and Gabriel will send me some comments which I can read out to you next week. We will also find the capsule!
We are very grateful indeed to Gabriel for his wonderful and wide-ranging talk, involving Cheney in our tree capsule project, and being involved in our project this year.
We were delighted to welcome two newbies to the Museum Council this week, Binamra and Maddie!
We had planned to meet Gabriel Hemery virtually this morning, but we couldn’t get the technology to work, so instead we will really look forward to meeting him next week. In the mean time, we discussed some of the beautiful trees you had all chosen and taken photographs of, ready for National Tree Week next week!
In this week’s session, we had a look at some images of tree trails in different places across the UK and the world, to give you some initial ideas for how we might make our own tree trail at Cheney. Some places had opted for simple signs, and others for more child-friendly ones. Some had created pathways out of logs or stone lined paths. Some had incorporated artwork either next to the trees or even on the trees themselves. These are all ideas for you to explore.
We were very fortunate to be able to visit the Harcourt Arboretum on a beautifully sunny autumn afternoon this week to kickstart our thinking about our tree trail project!
When we arrived, Dr Lauren Baker, Education Officer, met the group and introduced us all to the arboretum itself. Along with the Botanic Gardens in central Oxford, it forms the University of Oxford’s tree and plant collection. Lauren explained how the university had a vast store of seeds from an enormous range of plants, some of which are now extinct in the wild.