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Tuesday - Saturday: 10:00 - 17:00
Sundays & Bank Holidays: 12:00 - 17:00
Closed Good Friday, 24-26 & 31 December and 1 January


Project Team

Dr Kate Noble and Nicola Wallis, The Fitzwilliam Museum

Felicity Plent and Bronwen Richards, Cambridge University Botanic Garden

Gemma Pollard, Virginie Ghanime and Diana Church, ACE Nursery


Overview of the Project

‘Stand aside for a while and leave room for learning, observe what children do, and then, you have understood it well, perhaps teaching will be different from before.’

Loris Malaguzzi History, ideas and basic philosophy: An interview with Lella Gandini in Edwards, C., L. and Forman, G. (Eds.) The hundred languages of children: The Reggio Emilia approach - Advanced Reflections (Ablex: Greenwich, CT)


In October 2017, 9 children from a Cambridge City Nursery spent 5 consecutive mornings ‘In Residence’ at The Fitzwilliam Museum and Cambridge University Botanic Garden. The residency formed the basis of a multi-disciplinary, practitioner-led research project by a team of museum, garden and nursery practitioners. We hoped that the residency would give us the opportunity to, ‘stand aside for a while and leave room for learning’ as Malaguzzi describes above. We were able to take time to observe and reflect on the encounters between people, spaces and objects in the collections, and to develop a better understanding of what the museum and garden offer to young learners. Working in close collaboration was a key aspect of our research methodology and pedagogical practice. We are now planning to share and develop good practice within each of our settings and beyond.



You can download the executive summary and full report.

Noble, K (2018) UCM Nursery in Residence, Engage Conference: A Social Prescription, Manchester, 13 November 2018

Wallis, N (2018) My Nursery School is at the Museum and Garden – Making Space for Children, symposium presentation at The European Early Childhood Education Research Association Annual Conference in Budapest (  

Plent, F & Richards, B (2018) Botany and Art: Linking two Museums to Reach a New Audience, The 10th International Congress on Education in Botanic Gardens in Warsaw

Noble, K, Wallis, N et al (forthcoming) Nursery in Residence chapter in Hackett, A, Holmes, R & MacRae, C, Working with young children in museums; weaving theory and practice, Routledge  

Plent, F & Richards, B (2018) A Nursery in Residence, Natsca conference, Leeds: The museum ecosystem: exploring how different subject specialisms can work closer together, April 2018

Wallis, N (2018) The University of Cambridge Museums Nursery in Residence Project: a participatory case study with early years children Participatory Museology Seminar, Leeds School of Art, 25 June 2018

Wallis, N (2018) symposium presentation: Educators Growing Together, BECERA conference, Birmingham, 20 February 2018


Lines of Enquiry

We have been awarded funding from the University of Cambridge ESRC Impact Acceleration Account to enable us to develop ideas for future residencies and practitioner-led research at UCM and other informal learning settings.

Two seminars will bring together practitioners, academics and stakeholders with an interest in this area.

Seminar One: Setting the Scene (November 2018) focuses on sharing some examples from around the country of exciting practice with young children in museums, galleries and gardens, and discussing priorities, challenges and ways forward.

Seminar Two: Next Steps (January 2019) focuses on practitioner research and discusses suitable methodologies for investigating this area of work in a manner that is both academically trustworthy and of the highest ethical integrity.


If you are interested in finding out more or getting involved with the next stage of the project please contact Kate Noble.


Tuesday, 4 December, 2018