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.
January - please note our sites are completely closed to groups, visitors and pre-booked activities in January - we don't take bookings in January due to deep cleaning, maintenance and planning activities
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. and some great history bits and bobs
Festive Fun and Winter Wonder at Sandwell Museums
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.
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
Christmas at Oak House: Wednesday 4 & 11 December: 11am-2pm. See the Oak House beautifully decorated with real greenery for the festive season and meet the servant in the kitchen preparing for Christmas. Enjoy light refreshments in the tea rooms.
Letters to Santa & Christmas Crafts: Sunday 8 December-11:00am-3:00pm. Make festive crafts and write your letter to Santa. The Oak House will be decorated for Christmas and help the servants with their preparations. Trail available from reception. The tea room will be open courtesy of the Friends of Oak House. Craft Activities 50p-£3.00
Candlelight Evening: Thursday 12 December: 6:00pm-9:00pm. Travel back to the early 1600s and visit Oak House lit beautifully by candlelight and filled with members of the Turton household preparing for Christmas, Pario Gallico will be in the kitchen and there will be historical musical entertainment from NightWatch. See Big Beynons Blacksmith working his outdoor forge and enjoy the Magic Lantern Show. Tea room will be open for light refreshments. £3.00 per adult and £1.00 per child. Pay on the door.
Santa’s Grotto and festive fun: Sunday 15 December: 11:00am-3:00pm. Visit Santa in his grotto in the Oak House barns. Mrs Claus will be in the Oak House kitchen preparing for Christmas Day, take part in a free festive trail. Hartbeeps Sandwell will be in the classroom spreading magic and sparkle with a magic sprinkles party (party sessions last 45mins and are suitable for 0-5 years). This is a family event but is especially suitable for under 5s. £3.00 per child for Santa’s Grotto including a small gift, £3.00 per child for Hartbeeps Magic Sprinkles Party or £5.00 for a combined ticket. Crafts available from 50p-£3.00. The Tearoom will be open for light refreshments. To book for Santa and Hartbeeps visit www.ticketsource.co.uk/sandwell-museums-and-arts other activities just pop in
Salvation Army Carol Concerts: 17, 18, 19 December: 6:00pm-9:00pm. Back by popular demand. Have a stroll around the Oak House decorated for Christmas and enjoy a light refreshment in the tea room, before taking your seat for the performance in the Oak House Classroom. Tickets £6.00 per adult and £5.00 concessions. To book call the Oak House Museum or Visit www.ticketsource.co.uk/sandwell-museums-and-arts
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 email@example.com. 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
Advent Calendar workshop: Sunday 17 November; 11am – 12pm. Make some marbled paper and then incorporate it into your own festive advent calendar. All materials provided. Ages 7 + (children should be accompanied by an adult). £5 per participant. Advanced booking essential. phone or pop in to book
Letters to Lapland: Sunday 24 November; 11am-3pm. Write a letter to Santa & decorate it before posting it in our magical post box. You can see the house decorated for Christmas and take a peek at Santa’s grotto before he arrives. £1 per letter made.
Deck the Hall: Sundays 1, 8 & 15 Dec; 11am-3pm. Haden Old Hall will be open to the public decorated beautifully for Christmas with real greenery - Guaranteed to make you feel festive.
Santa Sundays: 1 & 8 December; 11am – 3pm. Book your timeslot to visit Santa in his magical grotto. £4 per child (includes small gift). Advanced booking essential to visit Santa.
Festive Sundays - 1 & 8 December 11am-3pm. You can also just drop in and start your Christmas preparations by joining us to make your own reindeer food £1, winter themed crafts £2; also enjoy some Christmas music with Andy our music man and see the house beautifully decorated for Christmas.
A Candlelit Christmas: Thursday 5 December; 6.00-8.30pm. Soak up the Christmas atmosphere of both our beautiful houses, dressed for the festive season and bathed in candlelight. See costumed characters and enjoy the live period music & dancing in Haden Old Hall and join in the Christmas songs and carols. Light festive refreshments available in our
tearoom. £4 per person includes entrance to both houses. Just drop in, no need to book.
Festive Fridays: 6 December & 13 December; 11am-2pm. See this beautiful Victorian house decorated for Christmas. Young visitors can have a go at our simple Christmas craft and draw a picture of what they want for Christmas and post it in our magical post box. Older visitors can make a Christmas decoration to take home and enjoy a cuppa and a mince pie.
Crafts £1.50 - £3.00 or just come in look around and enjoy this beautiful house. Just drop in, no need to book
Papercut Christmas Decoration Workshop: Wednesday 11 December; 10am—12.30pm. Learn how to make a papercut decoration with artist Madeline Norris. Ages 18 years + £20 per participant. All materials and refreshments included. Advanced booking essential.
Winter Wonderland: Sunday 15 December; 11am – 3pm. Family fun and festivities at Haden Hill House Museum and Old Hall. Enjoy our beautifully decorated houses, see Santa and his sleigh – and even real reindeers! Visit the wonderland grotto although Santa won’t be in his grotto on this day, join in with arts, crafts, music and play out in the snow.
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 Days are normally between April and September
- No pushchairs inside the building
- Assistance dogs only on site.
- Please wear sensible shoes, preferably flat or low heels.
Santa at Sandwell Museums
Mabel’s Vintage Christmas Fair: Sunday 1 December, 11am-3:30pm–Visit over 30 Christmassy stalls selling vintage, homemade and local produce.
A Magical Christmas Grotto: Saturday 7 & Saturday 14 December, 10am-4pm - Santa is making a special stop this year to our Christmas grotto where you can visit him and take home a special gift. There will also be Christmas crafts, trails and quizzes in our great hall, so even if you’re not visiting Santa, there will be plenty of fun to be had! Entrance to Great Hall activities is free but advance booking of grotto tickets is essential. £3.00 . To book, visit: www.ticketsource.co.uk/themanorhousemuseum
Supper with Santa: Sunday 8 December, 12pm-3pm & 4pm-7pm- Santa is arriving at the Manor House Museum for a unique evening of festive fun and he is inviting you to join him! The evening will be full of crafts, magic shows, films and of course a special visit from Santa himself, not forgetting a sack full of surprises along the way! Advance booking essential. £12.00 per child to include Santa’s gift and keepsakes. £4.00 per adult to include a hot drink and festive pie. To book, visit: www.ticketsource.co.uk/themanorhousemuseum
Evening Crafternoon Tea: Thursday 12 December 6pm-8:30pm– Enjoy an evening of crafting, and a delicious cream tea served on vintage china. Choose between two Christmas themed crafts. For more information and to book visit www.livinginloveliness.com
Ice Skating Sessions: Saturday 14 & Sunday 15 December 11am-4pm - An ice skating rink is arriving in the grounds by special request of the man in red himself. Each session lasts 20 minutes and boots and aids will be provided. There will also be Christmas crafts, trails and quizzes in our Great hall, so even if you’re not skating, there will be plenty of fun to be had! Entrance to Great hall activities is free but advance booking of ice skating is advised. £5 per child and £2 per accompanying adult. www.ticketsource.co.uk/themanorhousemuseum
Teddy Bear Workshop: Tuesday 17 & Thursday 19 December 5pm-6:30pm – Come along and make your own 8” stuffed penguin, decorate a biscuit, and enjoy a hot chocolate whilst watching a short Christmas film. All penguin teddies will come with a wishing star, a birth certificate and a carry home bag. £12 per child, £2.00 per accompanying adult. Advance booking essential, to book visit: www.ticketsource.co.uk/themanorhousemuseum
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.
Nostalgia Rooms Christmas
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.
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
Bring your own glass! Capturing Chance: Part of the Living Memory Project - Thursday 14 November, 12pm -3pm. Did you work for Chance Bros in Smethwick, or know someone who did? Maybe you just love their glass and have some cherished pieces you would like to show? Or have photographs that captured life at the site? If so, join artist Leanne O'Connor in a studio style photography day, that is centred around recording memories and a chance for you to have your own studio-style portrait with your glass and related ephemera. The call-out is open to anyone but it would be particularly wonderful If we could hear from past chance workers and regional glass enthusiasts. Bring your own glass is completely free, encourages storytelling of local glass histories and will form part of Leanne’s response as a bursary artist as part of the living memory project.
If you have any questions around this event, please contact Leanne via email firstname.lastname@example.org or WMAG. You can find out more about the living memory project via the link below:
Keepers of the Light 1pm start. Thursday 21 November - no need to book just drop in. Brendan Jackson and Geoff Broadway will be presenting their new project ‘Keepers of the Light’ that celebrates the legendary Chances Glass Works of Smethwick and its connection with the iconic Portland Bill Lighthouse in Dorset Based on rare archive materials and people’s stories, the artists explore both this unique landmark in Dorset and the legendary glassworks in the Black Country through a new book and short film. Signed copies of their new book will be available to purchase after the talk.
Tots in Museums for the under 5s– Pirate Penny and the Patchwork Purse: Thursday 28 November. 11:30am doors open 11am. Join the Storyplayers for rhymes, songs, music and movement as the children join Pirate Penny on her adventures to find the terrific treasure hidden in the Patchwork Purse.—£1.50 per child to see the show (booking for show recommended). You can also pop in from 12:15pm for games, soft play and messy crafts for young visitors (no need to book for this). There may also be a pre-festive twist as a special visitor in red pops in to say hello!
The Wind in the Willows - Saturday 7 December 11:30am and 2:30pm - Enjoy our festive performance with Hob Goblin theatre company of this magical tale. A special guest in red will pop in at the end of each performance to say hello! Tickets available at https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/sandwell-museums-and-arts or pop into the museum to pay (we will not reserve tickets over the phone)
After school festive fun: Wednesday 4 December, 3-5:30pm Join us after school and enjoy festive fun with Go-Play, write a letter to Santa and put it into our magical post box and book onto one of our timed slots to see Santa in our retro grotto and enjoy a small treat from Santa’s lucky dip. Free entry and just pop in for activities and £1.50 to see Santa – call to book your Santa timeslot. Otherwise pop in and enjoy activities with Go-Play!
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 from March to October 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.
Our 2019 open days have now finished - we will be open again from March 2020.
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.
Look out for our 2020 free open days in spring and September 2020.
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!