Get involved - activities and what's on at Sandwell Museums
Important visitor information - Please read before you visit
- Scroll down the page to find out what activities are available at our different sites. Please note that our sites are open at advertised times below and also for general casual visitors. For these general opening hours click the links to the site page. We will be updating our events throughout the year for the coming season so keep coming back to see what's on next.
- Entrance to our sites is FREE unless an admission charge is stated for specific activities and there is no need to book unless it states booking is required. To book, phone the relevant site or pop in - cash or cheque only.
- Please note that staff are not available to take phone calls every day. Please avoid calling on Mondays.
- Follow the links below to the site pages to find out about opening times, accessibility and facilities
We are unable to accommodate pushchairs inside our buildings due to the size and nature of our sites.
Assistance dogs only on site please.
Behind the scenes insight, cracking history information and lots of interesting stuff in our Sandwell Museums blog. Find out more about what goes on behind the closed doors at sandwell Museums.
All the Fun of the Fair
Roll up! Roll up! Roll up and cast your vote as part of this year's Sandwell Art Trail. Amateur artists, schools, groups and organisations have been busy creating pieces of work inspired by this year's theme of fairs, carnivals, circuses and everything in between. The pieces are now on display at Haden Hill House, oak House, The Manor House and Wednesbury Museum for you to see this summer and case your vote for your favourite.
Our site is open at advertised times below and during our general opening hours found on the Oak House page, staff are available at other times to take your call but please avoid calling on Mondays. Oak House is open April-September, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays 1pm-4pm (Site, visitor centre, playground and Old barn opens 1pm and the house opens at 2pm) and October and November Tues, Weds and Thurs 1pm-4pm (Site, visitor centre, old barn and playground open at 1pm, house opens at 2pm). Entrance Free. We also have a lively programme of Christmas activities in December. Open at other times for special events and activities throughout the year as advertised below.
Sundays at Oak House- Visit on Sundays from April to the end of September 2pm-5pm (last admission 4:30pm). enjoy our playground for young visitors or have a cuppa in the vinery, discover the story of the Turton family and explore this fascinating 17th century building. Some Sundays you may even find the master or mistress of the house, learn some 17th century games, try your hand at quill pen writing or meet a servant in the kitchen.
A Stitch in Time: throughout 2019 . A small exhibition currently on display in the Oak House Museum showcasing some of the amazing textiles and needlework in our museum collection, some of which is over 400 years old. This exhibition is upstairs inside Oak House. until the end of 2019
Go Play Sports Day: Tuesday 27 August; 12-4pm, Go Play will be here with various sporting games and activities on the events space. Trails and quizzes. Light refreshments available. Cheque or cash only please bring change
Pick and Mix Crafts: Wednesday 28 August, Thursday 29 August; 12-4pm, Various crafts to make in our barn classroom from 50p and trails hidden around the Oak House. Light refreshments available. Cheque or cash only lease bring change.
Heritage Open Days: Thursday 12 & Thursday 19 September, 2pm-5pm. Come along to the Oak House for a tour and see areas not normally open to the public. Tours last approximately 45 minutes at 2:30pm and 3:30pm and are free of charge. Please call to secure your place.
Light refreshments available.
Heritage Open Days: Sunday 15 September & Sunday 22 September, 2pm-5pm. Come and meet costumed characters demonstrating women’s work in the 17th Century during the Civil War. Discover the Protestation returns of 1641-1642 and find out who in West Bromwich signed an oath ‘to live and die for the true Protestant religion’. You can also enjoy our small textile exhibition showcasing amazing textiles and needlework, some of which is over 400 years old and try your hand at Nålbinding also known as Viking Knitting.
The tea room will be open courtesy of the Friends of the Oak House.
Have your child's birthday party in the Oak House Classroom! - The Oak House classroom is the perfect venue for a children’s party in the spring and summer. As we are open to the public on Sunday in summer we are able to bring you the use of this area for children’s parties for a special price. You can hire the Oak House classroom for the special price of £100 for 2.5 hours on Sunday afternoons between 2pm and 4:30pm—from April– September. This includes hire of the room and use of our tables and chairs. Visitors can also use our playground and visit the house too. You provide entertainment and refreshments. Terms and conditions apply. Subject to availability call 0121 553 0759 for details or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can hire the room at other times of year but full room hire prices would apply.
Gardening Group - Join our volunteer group and help us to garden the grounds for wildlife and in a 1600s style removing inappropriate planting and planting plants, herbs and seeds you may have found around Oak House in the 1600s. Tuesdays 10am-1pm.
Nifty Knitters, knitting group 11am-1pm £1 - Every Friday - Come along bring along your knitting or other craft activity of your choice, get advice off other group members and have a natter. Everyone is welcome.
Our site open at advertised times, staff are available at other times to take your call but please avoid calling on Mondays. Open to general visitors April - September Thursdays, Fridays 10am-5pm and Saturdays and Sundays 2pm-6pm. Then October and November Thursdays and Fridays 12pm-4pm and Sunday 11am-3pm. The site is open at other times for special events and activities throughout the year as below including a lively Christmas programme. Entrance Free
Ruskin on Tour—1 August until the end of October. Enjoy our touring exhibition of the fabulous Ruskin Pottery and its stunning colours, made in Smethwick.
Heritage Open Days at Haden Hill
Share a Stroll around Haden Hill Park - Share a stroll around Haden Hill Park with local historian John Billingham. (Weather dependant) and discover 400 years of this fascinating landscape. Suitable for adults only. Please wear sensible footwear.
• Thursday 19 September: 10.30am-12noon • Saturday 21 September:2.30-4pm - pre-booking advised
Vikings: Sunday 15 September—12pm-4pm. See real life Vikings, travel back in time and see what life was like over 1000 years ago.
Haden Old Hall Cellar Tours—Join us for a rare opportunity to look around the cellars in Haden Old Hall. Places are limited so advanced booking is essential. Please be aware that there are steep steps & uneven floors & low ceilings, so appropriate footwear is advised. • Thurs 19 Sept 2pm & 3pm.
“What’s Up There?” Unlock and discover some of the secrets of our attic and store rooms and take a unique glimpse behind the scenes. Haden Hill House Museum is a Victorian gentleman's residence set in 55 acres of award winning parkland and furnished in period style.
Entrance to the house is free to look around - tours are free• Friday 20 September: 11am & 2.30pm: Advance Booking Essential as places are limited • Sat 21 September: 2.30pm; Advance Booking Essential as places are limited
Bassano Music Afternoon Sun 22 September: 2pm-4pm. Join us in the Drawing Room for some genteel music. Recently re- discovered sheet music belonging to Charles Bassano, who was a nephew of George Alfred Haden Haden Best will be performed by local pianist John Hadley.
Haden Old Hall Open Days: Haden Old Hall (next to Haden Hill House), Haden Hill Park, Cradley Heath, West Midlands, B647JU. Opening Times- • Saturday 14 September: 2pm-5pm, • Sunday 15 September: 12pm-4pm
Haden Old Hall is not often open to the public. It was probably built in the late 1600s as the Haden family grew in wealth and status however after much heavy restoration is now stands semi-detached to George Alfred Haden Haden Best's modern Victorian residence (now a museum). The Hall will be opened by the Friends of Haden Hill Estate for Heritage Open Days and you can also visit the Victorian historic house museum too which is furnished and regularly open to the public,
Natty Knitters: 10.30am-12.30 join our knitting group every Wednesday from February onwards where you can enjoy a natter & a cup of tea, bring your own knitting or craft - £1 per person.
Our site open at advertised times, staff are available at other times to take your call. The Manor House is open for advertised events and activities and weekend guided tours as advertised below. It is not open at other times apart from for pre-booked groups.
NB: Seeing the whole building: Access to the whole building is sometimes not possible on event and activity days - look out for our free guided tours or self guided tours which will be advertised below if you would like to see as much of the house as possible and learn more about the history. However groups can book private guided tours with the site which attracts a cost.
Open Dates for 2019- A chance to explore the Manor House as part of a self guided tour and discover 800 years of history. Please note that currently only the great hall and the kitchen are furnished. Entrance is Free
First Sunday and consecutive Monday of each month: April- July 2019 (excluding bank holidays)
Sunday 7 & Monday 8 April: 12pm-3pm, Sunday 5th: 12pm-3pm, Sunday 2 & Monday 3 June: 12pm-3pm, Sunday 7 & Monday 8 July: 12pm-3pm
Every Sunday & Monday throughout August & September 2019 (excluding bank holidays)
Guided Tours on Sundays in August 12:30pm & 1:45pm
Sunday 4 & Monday 5 August 12pm-3pm, Sunday 11 & Monday 12 August 12pm-3pm, Sunday 18 & Monday 19 August 12pm-3pm, Sunday 25 August 12pm-3pm, Sunday 1 & Monday 2 September 12pm-3pm, Sunday 8 September 11am-3pm & Monday 9 September 12pm-3pm, Sunday 22 September 11am-3pm & Monday 23 September 12pm-3pm, Sunday 29 & Monday 30 September 12pm-3pm,
Doors close 30 minutes before the museum closes
Open at other times for special events, activities and pre-booked and regular groups
- No pushchairs inside the building
- Assistance dogs only on site.
- Please wear sensible shoes, preferably flat or low heels.
Jolly Roger's Pirate Party: Wednesday 28 August 11am-3pm. Treasure hunt, crafts, magic show, and meet some furry friends. £1.00 for children and 50p for adults. Activity prices will vary.
Heritage Open Days at the Manor House
Meet the Servants: Sunday 15 September 11am-3pm. Learn what life would have been like for a medieval Servant. Visit our Herbs & History Cookery School, find out about the measly medieval manners and join on to our Child Friendly Interactive Tour, following one of the Servants around on their day to day tasks at 12:30pm. Our historical guided tour will begin at 1:45pm. Booking for both guided tours is advised.
A Medieval Building and its Medieval landscape: Wednesday 18 September 11am (doors will open at 10:45). Archaeologist, Mike Hodder will be presenting his talk on the Medieval findings of our 13th century Manor House and its Landscape. Talk will last approximately 1 hour, Booking Required.
Explore the Old Beams: Wednesday 18 September 12pm-3pm. Come along and explore our beautiful 13th century Manor House at your own pace. Refreshments will be available in the Buttery Tea Room.
Meet the Lord & Lady: Sunday 22 September 11am-3pm. See how the other half lived- Medieval Style! Take part in our Maidens’ dance classes and Knights’ school throughout the day and learn what the day to day life of a Lord & Lady would have been like. Join on to our Child Friendly Interactive Tour, following one of the Servants around on their day to day tasks at 12:30pm. Our historical guided tour will begin at 1:45pm. Booking for both guided tours is advised.
Manor House Alive - Medieval Mayhem Weekend - 12 & 13 October 11am-4pm. Join us at this fabulous medieval building as Buckingham's Retinue re-enactment group bring the house to life as it might have been in the mid- 1400s, with knights and ladies, crafts, cooking, games, weaponry display and dancing and more - with the Lord of the Manor taking his place in the Lord's chair to hear local cases as the law courts and being served at the top table. With plenty of activities for young visitors too. Look back nearer the time for full details. A fascinating weekend bringing history to life! £1 entry per person.
Garden Maintenance Group: The 1st Wednesday of every month starting April, 10am-1pm, Could you spare a few hours a month towards the upkeep of the Manor House grounds? Our 13th Century grounds require on-going care to keep them at a high standard so they can be enjoyed by all of our many visitors, and we need your help to do this! Come and help and become part of a passionate and friendly team! All basic tools will be provided as well as light refreshments. Areas of maintenance will include: - The Moat - Car Park, - Pathways - Herb Garden, Call us on 0121 588 2985 to register your interest.
After we had a flood at the end of October after a severe storm we are busy re-decorating, cleaning, tidying and re-displaying the museum ready for a brand new season in April. We are really excited about opening the museum once again. From the beginning of April, Wednesbury Museum will be open on Wednesdays and Thursdays 11am-4pm and on Saturdays 2pm-5pm, Entrance is Free. Staff are available Tuesday-Thursday to take your call and answer any queries.
Mesty Croft Presents - Our community wall has been taken over by Mesty Croft Academy who showcase their talents by creating a piece of art in the style of different famous artists.
Pop Art- Enjoy our fantastic bright pop art exhibition in the Richard's gallery this summer.
Chance People –Aug onwards. Explore our new exhibition of Chances glassware and learn about the people who worked at the factory– until end of 2019
Communication with Mars - Weds 21, Thurs 22 11am-3pm & Sat 2:30pm-4:pm. The Chances factory commissioned a Martian communication device in the form of a lighthouse. Come and see the blueprints on display and design and create your own Martian communication device out of the craft items, paper, junk, boxes etc we have at the museum. The best will win a prize! £2 to take part.
Sing-a-long—The Greatest Showman. Weds 28 August. 1pm, £3 per person. See our fantastic film and sing-a-long as you go. In association with Black Country Touring. Visit our tuck shop for some cinema sweeties! Booking essential. Popcorn and sweets will be available - no snacks from home allowed.
Greatest Showman Party—Thursday 29 August. 11am-3pm enjoy a disco, games and activities—why not come dressed up £2 per child just drop in
Sat 31 August—2pm-4:30pm—To run alongside our Arts Trail enjoy circus themed crafts and trails. Small charge for craft activities
Jack and the Devil’s Purse: Saturday 12 October- 7pm, doors open 6.40pm. ‘The Devil Dances in Empty Pockets!’. It’s spooky season so this darkly humorous and devilish blend of theatre, puppets and live music tells the tale as the devil himself recounts how he met Jack and offered him an enchanted purse. Suitable for adults and older children 10 years plus. £5 per person, booking essential pop in pay for your tickets (cash or cheque only) or buy online from 1 September at https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/sandwell-museums-and-arts
Creepy Crafts: Wednesday 30 October 11am-3pm. Join us for our creepy crafts, and terrible trails.
Spooky family fun day: Thursday 31 October 11am-3pm- loads of creepy fun with games and entertainment, why not come dressed up!
Model Railway Group showcase: Saturday 2 November 11am-3pm West Bromwich rail model group showcase some of their larger layouts at this fascinating display.
Community Painting Groups - Our three art groups meet on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday at the museum from 10am and a member of museum staff facilitates the groups. These aren't taught groups but our knowledgeable member of staff is on hand to help and give advice. There is also the opportunity to go on trips or try your hand at new artistic techniques or styles. call 0121 556 0683 for details and information.
Tuesday Groups - Tuesdays are our community groups days - call the museum to find out more.
From our recent call out for artists to exhibit we can now happily announce that the 1st couple of exhibitions to take place:
Galton Valley Pumping station is open on the second Saturday of the month 10am-3pm starting 9th March Entry FREE - Dog Friendly
Housed in the New Smethwick Pumping Station the canal museum tells the story of the Galton Valley canal system and the people that lived and worked on it. Entry to the museum is free and there are light refreshments available. Sorry there are no toilet facilities.
Manned by our brilliant Friends group. Entrance is FREE - Call 0121 556 0683 for more information.
March 9, April 13, May 11, June 8, July 13 (Summer fun day 11am-3pm)
August 10, September 14 and 21 (extra guided tour at 10am), October 12.
Bishop Asbury Cottage normally hosts several public open days per year FREE. keep checking back here for details
Alternatively you can book in a group visit for a small charge per person by calling 0121 553 0759.
Open Days 27th April 2019 - 10am-12pm
Monday 29th April - 1pm-3pm
Friday 13 September 10am-12pm
Saturday 14 September 1pm-3pm
You can also 'join us' and discover there are 'More to Museums' - find out what regular groups or activities adults can get involved with from gardening or knitting, fund raising, volunteering or dressing up!