Amazing Brain Festival and Exhibition Launch!

Yesterday we celebrated the arrival of the fabulous Your Amazing Brain Exhibition with our Brain Festival!

Visitors of all ages were able to explore the Your Amazing Brain Exhibition which has been installed on the ground floor of the Brighouse Building. It features a range of information boards and interactive activities exploring aspects of the brain, from the way we process faces, to the optical and sensory illusions we experience. It is designed and created by the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging, in partnership with Banbury Museum & Gallery.

We were very grateful to the many organisations who came to run stalls and activities including the University of Oxford Department of Paediatrics who ran a stall on baby brains, the Department of Pharmacology and science artist Lizzie Burns who ran a fascinating brain art and discovery room, the Brain and Language Lab who looked at the errors brains make through scribal mistakes, Dan Holloway and his Memory Game, and the Department of Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics who explored hearing and the brain. The Classics Faculty was also represented with a stall exploring ancient and modern reactions to experiences!

We are also grateful to our Museum Council students who designed and ran a range of stalls, ranging from finding out what brain type you have, to unscrambling neurons to exploring the sense of smell to optical illusions. A team of Year Twelves also ran activities such as "lipid bingo", animal brains, and exploring brain scans using giant playing cards. Finally, the Travelling Natural History Museum brought a T Rex which people could get inside and operate, and Apollo Falconry bought an owl and a kestrel!

After all the excitement of the stalls and exhibitions, Professor Sophie Scott delivered a very engaging talk on The Brain: Ten Things You Should Know, and Oscar from Y10 performed some brain and love themed songs at the start and finish. A very big thank you to everyone who took part, whether visiting and exploring, or running a stall and activity.

Rumble Museum Brain Season Begins

We are excited to be launching our Brain Season at the Rumble Museum this January!

The season will include the usual mix of breakfast talks, workshops, displays and events, including our sixth form Explore Your Brain conference all day on Tuesday 12th March. The conference will involve twelve different organisations running workshops, and two keynote speakers delivering talks for the sixth form and some students from Year Eleven.

As well as this, we are privileged to be hosting Your Amazing Brain, an exhibition designed and created by the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging. The exhibition features striking educational displays and interactive exhibits, all exploring the brain's behaviours, structure and abilities.

Watch this space for more news on our Brain Season and how you can take part!

Astronomy and Stargazing Evening at Cheney

On Tuesday 19th December, we were blessed with beautiful clear skies just in time for our astronomy and stargazing evening!

Dr Lucy Oswald gave a fascinating opening talk on pulsars and black holes in the assembly hall for over 100 visitors of all ages, and this was swiftly followed by stargazing in the Lane Yard, where stunning views of the moon’s surface, the rings of Saturn, and Jupiter and its four moons were clearly visible through the telescopes.

Meanwhile in Lane, Museum Council students from Years Eight, Nine and Ten ran fourteen different activity stalls ranging from rocket launching and fortune telling to a quiz show and star trail, with almost everything you could imagine in between! As well as all this, Oscar in Year 10 played and sang a range of star-themed songs before the opening talk for visitors to enjoy,  and the sixth form enrichment committee turned L1 into a “stellarium”.

Cheney friends kindly provided star-themed refreshments for the event. We are very grateful to the History of Science Museum, who brought astronomical artefacts to see, to Lucy for the fantastic opening talk, and to all our visiting experts who brought telescopes.

Well done to the amazing work of museum council students in preparing and running exciting and enjoyable activities all evening! 


Call for Technology Items

Next term, we are excited to be working with the History of Science Museum on an exciting project to create some new technology displays in our new cabinets on the first floor of the Lane Building.

We already have a small collection of technology items in our Technology through Time Collection. In order to develop our collections, we are calling for members of the wider community to loan or donate items to our collections.

We plan to work with Year Nine History students to explore both our own artefacts and ones which we are donated from the local community, and to create displays which narrate the stories of these objects in a way which connect with lots of strands of the school curriculum, from history and culture, to design and economy.

We plan to work with Chris Parkin, Learning Officer from the History of Science Museum, who will run a series of workshops with the students to introduce the themes and objects, and then work closely to co-curate a set of displays about the objects which will be accessible, engaging, and relevant to the lives and experiences of the 1700 students who visit the school site each day, as well as for the wider community of parents, staff, and visitors.

We are interested in any sort of technical item from any era, right up to present day, so if you have anything you'd be happy to loan or donate, please get in touch on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Fire juggling, owls and ancient mazes transform Cheney School at Labyrinth Festival

On Friday 20th October, the Rumble Museum held a Labyrinth Festival at Cheney School, celebrating labyrinths through the ages from ancient Knossos to modern day films and stories. Cheney students and external organisations ran a range of creative activities and stalls exploring mazes and labyrinths, including a room themed on Knossos, with 3D printed artefacts from the Ashmolean's Knossos exhibition, a Linear B logogram guessing activity, octopus jar decoration, a giant magnetic maze, and beautiful displays by East Oxford Primary School children, explore labyrinths on mine craft with the Story Museum, and take part in printing on the Rumble Museum's Victorian printing press.
There was monster-making, a floor labyrinth game, a giant labyrinth escape room, Cheney's own walkable labyrinth, and people in character from ancient Greek history and myth.
Alongside explorations of the ancient labyrinth, there was an emphasis on the 1986 Jim Henson film Labyrinth - and visitors were able to meet the goblin king (aka Juggling John Haynes) on stilts juggling crystals, watch fire juggling shows, be quizzed by 'riddle doors', see beautiful owls from Apollo Falconry, and take part in a masked ball and create elaborate masks. They were also able to meet puppeteer Rob Tygner, who worked on the character Hoggle on the original film, and to hear a talk by Dr Andrea Wright on Jim Henson's worlds created on film.
All visitors were given a special Labyrinth pass and map, and they were able to fill out all the activities they visited and be entered for a prize draw.
It was an afternoon packed full of wonder, and we are very grateful to the many Cheney students and external organisations who ran exciting stalls and activities, and to the very many visitors who came to the festival.

Labyrinth Season at the Rumble Museum

Some of our Rumble Museum Council students dedicated a day of their summer holiday to painting a large medieval-style walkable labyrinth on site at the school ready for the school’s Rumble Museum season of labyrinth themed events next term.


The permanent labyrinth was marked out by Haywood Landscapes, and then painted by the team of students from Years Nine through to Eleven ready to be walked by students, staff and visitors next week. Walking labyrinths are widely reported as having a range of well-being benefits, as well as being a fun and interesting feature with a complex and varied history.


The season of events run by the school’s Rumble Museum will include a range of speakers exploring labyrinths through history, from the labyrinth at Knossos in Crete which was famously imagined in Greek myth to imprison the Minotaur, to modern versions and their uses in a range of locations today. There will also be workshops and projects, and a labyrinth themed afternoon of activities and stalls. The Rumble Museum has been kindly donated a set of beautiful display boards from the Ashmolean’s own recent Labyrinth Exhibition which will be put up on site this week for students and staff to enjoy.

Tree Trail Open Morning

On Saturday morning, our Year Eight Museum Council students ran a broad and creative variety of stalls and activities amongst our beautiful trees and new tree trail signs for visitors of all ages to come and enjoy. There was potato printing, butterfly cakes, duck fishing, tree riddles and more, as well as tree trail guides to follow, and students ready to tell people more about the trees.

As part of the Art Fund's national Wild Escape project, the Rumble Museum was delighted to be awarded a grant towards working with local school children to introduce our trees and butterflies, and to design and create six beautiful, permanent tree trail signs on site. These signs where designed by our Year Nine Museum Council students, who chose the trees they wanted to spotlight to visitors.

You can find out more about our trees on our website here, and also listen to some of the staff and celebrities who have given their voices to the trees!

Well done to our amazing Year Eight team, and thank you to everyone who came to explore!

Utopia Day at the Rumble Museum

Last Monday was Utopia Day!

Students were able to take part in a wide range of activities and stalls, including an all day creative writing workshop with author of the Ink Trilogy, Alice Broadway, for Year Nines, and a range of utopia-themed stalls and activities in the Library at break, lunch and after school, as well as a community talk with Alice.

The all day workshop got off to a fascinating start with Alice explaining the premise behind the Ink Trilogy, a world where everything people do is tattooed onto their skin. Students were then invited to get into groups, where they developed their own stories about societies where people had attempted to make things better in a range of ways, and the effects these changes had on the central characters in their tales. Students were supported by Alice across the day, and finished by presenting their own storylines and premises.

The boards they had been working on were then moved to the Library after school where students, staff and visitors could explore their work! Alongside this, Year Eights and Nines ran eleven different utopia-themed stalls in the Library, with games, quizzes, book-themed displays, and more. Mostly Books were with us all day selling a mix of titles.

Well done to all who took part and shared their ideas about a better society!

Museum Project Presentation Evening 2023!


Congratulations to our amazing Year Nine Museum Project students who presented their individual museum research projects across two hours yesterday evening to a range of parents, students, staff and museum professionals!

The projects this year included the importance of insects in museums and how they can tell us about the climate crisis, interactivity in museums, virtual museums, whether theme parks can be thought of as museums, whether digital or physical preservation is most effective, repairing and restoring paintings, the role museums can play in improving public perceptions of spiders, the creation and display of similar artefacts from different cultures, pop-up museums and museum locations, how museums display medicine through time, decolonising museum collections, the role museums can play in promoting languages, how plants can be displayed in museums, virtual reality in museums, comparing ethnographic museums, Samurai representation in museums, and the ethics of displaying human remains.

The students chose their projects several months ago, and have been researching, interviewing museum staff, and writing essays and creating artefacts to express their ideas. The presentation evening marked the culmination of their projects. Artefacts created included an "inro" and "pomander", both objects used for similar things from different cultures, and a painting and song to present spiders in a positive light. Students had also created videos to show interactive displays, brought insect snacks to eat, and tested methods of preservation!

Thank you to all who came to support!

Rumble Museum's Utopia Season, May - July 2023

We are excited to announce our Utopia Season at the Rumble Museum starting in May and running through until the end of July. The season will explore the concept of utopia throughout history to the present day, as well as looking ahead to ideas and hopes for the future, through a range of displays, projects, competitions, debates, and events, culminating in a Utopia Day on Monday 3rd July.

We are kicking off our season of events with a school wide competition to some up with an artistic response to the concept of utopia, whether it be in art, as a poem or story, or an essay or some other means. We will turn all the entries into a Utopia digital and literal wall at our Utopia Day. Professor Danny Dorling from the Department of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford will be our first speaker to launch the season on Friday 5th May.

We have created a display of utopian fiction and writing through time in our front reception display case, with labels and also large letters decorated by our Year Nine Museum Council students to reflect utopian ideas. The cabinet includes Plato's Republic, Thomas More's Utopia, William Morris' News from Nowhere, Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Herland, ARIA by Kozue Amano set in a future Venice-like city, Pacific Edge by Kim Stanley Robinson, and other utopian works. You can pop in and take a look at the display between now and the end of July.

More news about Utopia Season will be posted here so keep an eye out for events, talks and more, all on a utopian theme!

Ramallah Visitors at the Rumble Museum

On Tuesday, we were privileged to welcome Refa, Adam, Aya Safi and Minna to the Rumble Museum and Cheney, where they spoke to Year Nines and Year Twelves about their experiences of life in a refugee camp in Ramallah.

The visit was organised by the Oxford Ramallah Friendship Association (ORFA). The visitors were linked to the Women’s Centre in the Al Amari Camp, and included two young people from the Al Amari Refugee Camp UNRWA schools.

They spoke about what daily life was like, the sorts of things they did at school and at home, and the challenges they faced every day in the camp. Students were able to ask questions and also watch a short video giving further insight into life in the camp in Ramallah. We are very grateful to Refa, Adam, Aya Safi and Minna for all their time speaking with our students.

Botanic Gardens Trip with Year Eight Museum Council

On Monday 20th March, the Year Eight Museum Council were invited to visit Oxford's beautiful Botanic Gardens to experience some amazing plants, and think about what plants might be included in the Museum of Climate Hope trail.
We arrived fresh from a rainy walk down the hill to be greeted warmly by Lauren Baker, Secondary Learning Officer, and Bill Finnegan, University of Oxford researcher. We started by hearing a bit about the history of the Botanic Gardens - how it used to be called the Physic Garden, and  how it was set up in 1621 by Henry Danvers, 1st Earl of Danby. The Danby Gate, the striking arched entrance from the main road, is named after him.
The first thing Lauren took us to see were the mandrakes, which were in the medicinal beds. Lauren explained how mandrakes (made famous by the Harry Potter 'screaming mandrakes') had been used as an early anaesthetic, but that the difference between a teaspoon and a table spoon could mean it was either effective or might stop your heart. Lauren went on to explain how the medicinal gardens had once been laid out according to which area of medicine plants were used in (e.g. dermatological, cardiology, etc), but that they were now split into different themes, including for example 'modern medicine', 'wise women' plants, and plants which were thought to be effective on the part of the body they appeared to be shaped like ('bladderwort', 'lungwort').