27th September 2014: Big Saturday ‘Discover the Pacific’

September’s Big Saturday event is inspired by the Living Cultures collection – specifically by our important collection of objects from the Pacific. The limited gallery space in the museum only allows us to show a tiny fraction of the museum’s collections, which include over 6000 Pacific objects in the Living Cultures collection alone. A day of activities on the 27th September is set to draw attention to this important area of the collection.

Get up close to objects from behind the scenes - including one of our large textile pieces usually kept in storage.

Get up close to objects from behind the scenes – including one of our large textile pieces usually kept in storage.

Some of the events taking place on the day will be*:

  • ‘The ocean between us’– A short talk looking at how the Pacific Ocean links people to each other and to the rest of the world through history by Professor Karen Sykes, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Manchester.
  • Didgeridoo performances
  • A chance to see one of our large pieces of Fijian barkcloth from the stores. Meet trainee curator Kiera Gould to ask questions and find out more about the manufacture of these impressive textiles.
  • Hands-on craft activities: make a miniature kiwi bird, decorate a boomerang or make a Hawaiian flower lei to wear as you explore the museum.
  • Meet our Curator of Botany Rachel Webster and get up close to some of the natural materials people used to live on remote Pacific Islands.
  • Learn more about our up-coming Easter Island exhibition.
  • Have a go at the traditional Vanuatu art of sand-drawing and learn more about this fascinating cultural practice.
  • Join students from the University of Manchester’s Faculty of Life Sciences who will show examples of volcanic rocks and demonstrate seismic waves to show how we can understand the structure of the earth.

We hope that visitors will also look out for objects and specimens from the Pacific as they explore the galleries all over the museum. Families can pick up a Pacific Island Trail map at the Welcome Desk and hunt for clues around the museum which will show them the diversity of objects we hold from the Pacific. You might even spot some live animals in the Vivarium which come from this far flung corner of the world!

Why can't kiwis fly? Find the answer as you explore the galleries and spot objects and specimens from the Pacific.

Why can’t kiwis fly? Find the answer as you explore the galleries and spot objects and specimens from the Pacific.

Join us at Manchester Museum on Saturday 27th September to ‘Discover the Pacific’. Activities run 11am-4pm, are free and suitable for all ages.

*The programme for the day is currently ‘to be confirmed’, keep an eye on the blog and Twitter (@KieraRGould) for updates.

Sept Big Saturday flyer FINAL high res

Advertisements

Travel the World Big Saturday: Guest Blog by Sajia Sultana

Travel the World Big Saturday was held on Saturday 2nd of August between 11am and 4pm. The day involved families travelling back in time and across the globe. Families enjoyed world music performances, met curators and saw objects from the museum’s collections and created musical shakers.

Here are the various music performances which were held during the day. Upon arrival families enjoyed Chinese music performances on traditional instruments, the Erhu and the Guzheng. This was performed by Henry Fung and Mei Mei Wu.

1Families then enjoyed African Storytelling with Chanje Kunda from Zambia. The stories included fables which illustrated to the children how to stay safe. The children also played with African toys and fabrics.

2

Our journey continued to Northern India with Kanchan Maradan who performed the Kathak dance. The word Kathak is derived from ‘Katha’ meaning the ‘the art of storytelling’.

3

In the afternoon families travelled to Iran with Arian Sadr to enjoy Iranian Frame Drumming.

4

At the end of the journey families had a chance to participate in the traditional Chinese Fan Dance (which resembles a field of butterflies) with Mei-Mei Wu.

5

6

You can see some of the performances in the film below:

Children and adults were asked to describe their day at Manchester Museum in one word. Here are their comments:

‘Splendid’ ‘Amazing’ ’Interactive’ ‘Interesting’ ‘Educational’ ’Extraordinary’ Excellent’ ’Brilliant’ ‘Illuminating’ ’Exciting’ ‘Fascinating’ ‘Inspiring’ ’Great’

Visit the following link to find out more about Big Saturday:

http://ancientworldsmanchester.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/easter-island-at-manchester-museum/

Visit our page on Facebook Global Explorer:

https://www.facebook.com/GlobalExplorersmm

Sajia Sultana is a Summer Public Programmes Intern at Manchester Museum and a University of Manchester student.

Go West

As a young child in the 1980s I have vague memories of watching a Japanese television show called Monkey.  The show was an explosion of martial arts, monsters and magic. The electro-psychedelic theme tune by Godiego was particularly catchy. It wasn’t until the early 2000s as a student when I rediscovered this cult Japanese show, it was a welcome distraction from late night study.

The show was of course a 1970s interpretation of the 16th century Ming dynasty novel Journey to the West by author Wu Cheng’en. The novel details the adventures of the Buddhist monk Tripitaka and his 14 year and 108,000 mile odyssey, with his 3 supernatural companions Monkey, Pigsy and Sandy, to retrieve Buddhist scriptures from the Thunderclap Monastery in India.

Having realised that this piece of Japanese pop culture was actually based on a Chinese epic novel I began reading Wu Cheng’en’s text. Whilst reading volume 3 on a train a young Chinese woman was rather tickled as in her opinion I was reading a children’s story. In China the story is very popular amongst the younger generation and many animations have been based on the novel. The story has not only been a stimulus for animators but graphic novelists, computer game designers, and television, film and theatre directors too. The characters were even used by the BBC to advertise their coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

This Saturday the Manchester Museum will be celebrating all things Journey to the West including the screening of a contemporary animation. Other events will including handling Buddhist Chinese objects from the Living Cultures collection and a chance to discover more about this captivating Chinese epic. Our exhibition China: Journey to the East full of wonderful Chinese objects will be open throughout the day.

See you there,

Stephen Terence Welsh

Curator of Living Cultures