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University of Cambridge Museums Nursery in Residence Project

Following the Government announcement yesterday, museums and galleries in Cambridge will be closed to the public as part of a period of national/local restrictions. So, with great sadness, we will not be able to reopen as planned on 2 January 2021.

September 2017June 2018

Funded by University of Cambridge Museums

In October 2017, nine children from a Cambridge city nursery spent five 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.




Project information

Related publications

You can download the executive summary and full report.

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  

Noble, K. (2019) Spaces and places for everyone: Findings from a nursery residency in a museum and garden,, research report UKLA conference, Sheffield, 12–14 July 2019

Wallis, N. (2019) Seminar Presentation, Kids in Museums Families and Wellbeing Workshop, Manchester, 11 June 2019

Noble, K. (2019) Freedom and control: The challenges of exploring museums and gardens with young childrensymposium presentation BECERA conference, Birmingham, 19 February 2019

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 Tenth International Congress on Education in Botanic Gardens in Warsaw

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) Educators growing together, Symposium presentation, BECERA conference, Birmingham, 20 February 2018

Outcomes of the project

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