skip to content

Although the museum is currently limiting opening times to the public, we are still keen to engage with schools and groups. We have developed a range of specialised online sessions and can also offer digital, outreach or on-site learning sessions for secondary school groups on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Sessions typically last up to an hour and a half and include practical activities, information about objects and a chance to ask questions. Contact Alison Giles, our learning coordinator, on to discuss how we can help you.

Science and Exploration

Key themes: History and Geography

Age range: KS3

Duration: 90 minutes

What instruments did explorers take on board ship before they travelled the world? What role did navigational instruments play in the development of the British Empire? These are the questions students will explore as they look at a range of navigational instruments and globes displayed in the Museum. Through these objects, students will also get a better understanding of latitude and longitude, how different navigational instruments work and how maps and globes are made.

Duration: 90 minutes

Format: 30 minute taught session + 30 minute worksheet + 30 minute handing session

The Art and Science of Looking

Key themes: Art and Science

Age range: KS3

This session will focus in optical scientific instruments from the museum's collection exploring their ability to change how we see the world around us. Students will have the opportunity to sketch their own observations under a microscope, explore 2D and 3D by using stereoscopic viewers and look at other optical scientific instruments such as telescopes.

Duration: 90 minutes. Break down of content: 30 minute taught session + 30 minute handling + 30 sketching in galleries.

What is Colour?

Key themes: Science, History, Art

Age range: KS3

This session will motivate students to think deeply about the science of the everyday - specifically why and how we see colour. Using prisms and optics and looking at the work of Isaac Newton and James Clerk Maxwell, students will understand how interaction between light, material and the human eye result in colourful creations.

Duration: 90 minutes. Simple break down of content: 30 minute taught session + 30 minute handling and/or craft activity + 30 minute self exploration

Science, Exploration and Empire

Key themes: History, Science

Age range: KS3 and KS4

Via gallery investigation, source analysis and discussion, students will get a glimpse of science from the diverse perspectives of colonial forces and native peoples. After being led around our Astronomy and Empire exhibition by a museum teacher, students will be given sources and objects in order to prepare presentations on three or four case studies exhibited.

Duration: 90 minutes. Break down of content: 30 minute taught session + 30 minute case study preparation + 30 presentation and discussion

The Miniature World of Microscopy

Key themes: Science, History and Art

Age range: KS4

During this gallery-taught session, students will become familiar with the history of microscopy and will make their own observations of the miniature world by using a range of nineteenth and twentieth century microscopes from our handling collection.

Focussing on the achievements of Robert Hooke, Anton von Leeuwenhoek, and Charles Darwin, students will gain an insight into the development of microscopes and their manifold uses throughout history.

Duration: 60 minutes. Break down of content: 30 minute taught session + 30minute handling+ 30 minute self exploration.

Medicine and Anatomy through Time

Key themes: History, Science, Medicine

Age range: KS4

Students will be able to explore how revolutionary discoveries affected the development of new medical and anatomical knowledge. They will study the tools of the medical trade from the Renaissance to the 19th century, revealing the impact of key figures including Andreas Vesalius and important techniques such as trepanation. In collaboration with the Whipple library, they will then be encouraged to investigate and analyse important medical texts from different eras and make conclusions about what influenced their authors and illustrators.

Duration: 90 minutes. Break down of content: 30 minute taught session + 30 minute textual analysis + 30 minutes free time.

Fakes, Mistakes and Mystery

Key themes: History, Science

Age range: KS4

Solve a mystery: how have fake scientific instruments made their way into the Whipple Museum collection, and who is responsible? Via source analysis, groups will investigate the evidence that recent researchers have uncovered and present back their discoveries.

Duration: 75 minutes

Modelling Science

Key themes: Double award Science GCSE, Single Award Science GCSE, History

Age range: KS4

From an enormous protein structure to plaster casts of chicken heads, students will see models spanning different scientific fields, dating from the 18th century to the 20th. They will learn about the importance of models in scientific investigations and discoveries throughout Biology, Chemistry and Physics. They will analyse the representation of concepts including electricity and genetic inheritance, have an in-depth look at the history of molecular models, and operate a mechanical model of the solar system.

Duration: 90 minutes. Break down of content: 30 minutes gallery teaching + 30 minutes activity + 30 minutes free time in galleries

Opening Times

We are currently open five days a week!

Booking is essential, but tickets are free. They are available at the University of Cambridge Museums website. Tickets are available for the subsequent week.

Slots are as below:

Monday 14:00 - 15:30

Tuesday 14:00 - 15:30

Wednesday 14:00 - 15:30

Thursday 14:00 - 15:30

Friday 14:00 - 15:30

We hope to see you soon!

Please note that, in line with University of Cambridge guidance, the Whipple Museum requires visitors to continue to wear face coverings (unless exempt) and maintain social distancing.