Get involved - activities and what's on at Sandwell Museums
Important visitor information - Please read before you visit
Our sites are now closed until 1st April (or the nearest advertised open day) for conservation work, deep cleaning, redisplay and planning activities.
From February however we are open for pre-booked and regular community groups and schools, February half-term and special events and activities (see below). Staff are available on site to answer any queries.
- 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.
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
Oreo and Friends: Tuesday 28 May, 12-4pm—Oak House favourites Oreo and Friends Animal Encounters return to the Oak House Barns classroom. Get up close and personal with a variety of animals. Suitable for ages 3+. Prices are £4.50 per person. Limited spaces - booking is essential.
Animal Crafts: Wednesday 29, May, Thursday 30 May, 12-4pm. Make some animal themed crafts in our barn classroom and find our animal trail around the Oak House. Prices from 50p.
Our tea room will be open courtesy of the ‘Friends of the Oak House Museum’
Pebble Painting Workshop: Sunday 2 June, 2-4pm. Try your hand at pebble painting in the Oak House Barn classroom. All ages welcome. Pens and pebbles supplied. £1.00 to take part
Historic Games: Sunday 23 June, 2-4pm. Master Turton will be in the Oak House parlour teaching you how to play historic games. Trails and quizzes available.
The Jazz Festival: Sunday 28 July 2:30pm - Join us for this year's free live music festival on the terrace, bring a picnic. Performers to be announced.
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
Don’t Go into the Cellar Theatre Company present: - “Beastly Monsters & Monstrous Beasts” Sun 26 May 2.30pm In this original theatrical show for produced for children and young families, we invite you to join Professor Charlotte Challenger, as she recounts several of her daring escapades from the Edwardian era. Be thrilled as you encounter marauding monsters, deadly dinosaurs and fiendish fauna! The performance will be outside; however there will be shelter provided in the event of inclement weather. £7 per person or £25 family ticket (2 adults & 2 children up to 14yrs old) CANCELLED -Due to lack of interest
Midland Painting Group exhibition: until mid July. Enjoy paintings, drawings, and crafts by Midland painting group.
Ruskin on Tour exhibition – Until end of October. See a selection of our fantastic Ruskin pottery collection made in Smethwick.
Upstairs: Who stole the painting? Thursday 30 May 11am-3pm, The Toffs dinner party has been interrupted by one of the servants who has just discovered the theft of a valuable painting. Can you help us find “whodunnit” by solving the clues left behind by the thief?
Downstairs: Friday 31 May 11am-3pm, The Housekeeper has got behind in her duties after the
terrible goings on from the day before, so she needs your help with some cleaning
Knitting in Public Day: Saturday 8 June, 2pm-5pm. Join us for the internationally recognised Knitting in Public Day, a day where you can knit and natter in the comfort of our park and museum.
Lazy Sunday: Sunday 9 June, 2-5. 30pm.Enjoy a lazy afternoon listening to the dulcet tones of the ever-popular Mr Ian Casey. There will be other activities during the afternoon to enjoy. Our tearoom will be open for light refreshment, courtesy of The Friends of Haden Hill Estate.
Tasteful Tea: Saturday 22 June 2.30pm-4.30pm. Are you bored with drinking the same tea all time? Why not come & try a range of different teas in the genteel surroundings of our Victorian house.
£6 per person (includes a cream tea & a cup of your favourite tea of the afternoon) booking required.
Fun in The Sun: Sunday 7 July 2pm-5.30pm. Join us for an afternoon in the park, with a bouncing castle, inflatable assault course, inflatable slide, outdoor games, music & children’s entertainment. Tokens can be purchased to take part in the various activities.
Jazz Festival - Sunday 28 July 2pm - Join us for live music in the park as part of Jazz Festival, bring a picnic and enjoy! Performers to be announced.
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.
Shakespeare Festival Players- Much Ado About Nothing: Monday 27 May, 5pm, “The course of true love never did run smooth” This delicious comedy, popular for over 400 years, will be performed for you by The Festival Players acclaimed all-male Company, in a crystal clear, energetic, colourful production! In advance £14 adults £12 concessions, on the day £15 adults £13 concessions call 0121 588 2985
Jurassic Week- Dino Movie & Crafts: Wednesday 29 May- 11am-3pm, Sid, Manny and Diego encounter some prehistoric encounters on the course of the icy mission. Book onto our movie morning and then take part in a selection of dino themed crafts and trails!
All activities including the movie will start at 11am, craft and activities will not need pre booking but the movie will. Movie is £2.00 which includes a movie sweet treats pack per person.
Jurassic Week- Fossil Friday: Friday 31 May, 11am-3pm, Dig deep into our prehistoric fossil pit and see what treasures you discover! Complete our trails and quizzes and become a dino expert! Dino themed crafts will also be available in the grounds.
Jurassic Week-Dino Takeover: Saturday 1 June, 11am-3pm, Join the Manor House as it steps back in time over 70 million years ago and get ready to meet real life walking dinosaurs! Once again, we will be joined by Pete the Dinosaur and his Dino friends for a fun filled day of digging for fossils, hunting for bones, crazy crafts and much more prehistoric fun! This is an event not to be missed!
FUNTOPIA: Saturday 8 & Sunday 9 June, 10am-4pm, Funtopia is a fantastic fun-packed event which is perfect for tots to tweens. Filled with bouncy castles, activity inflatables, under 5's area, interactive play system and much more! Funtopia is 'pay and play all day!'. So when you've purchased your wristband you can go on any activity as many times as you like - all included in the price! £8 for children aged 1-12 £2 for adults.
Laura Liptrot’s 7 Wonders: Saturday 15 June, 7pm, “So here is the story of the seven wonders. Six renascence legends and me. I am a wonder. We all are. This is me – a slightly over-weight, broad-shouldered misfit in the 21st century” Laura Liptrots one Woman show performing as, Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymore, Anne of Cleaves, Kathryn Howard, Katherine Parr, and… herself, experimenting with a new blend of comedy, pathos, history, identity and with just a sprinkling of politics. £6 per ticket. This is event is hosted by The Friends of The Manor House Museum. To book your ticket, visit www.ticketsource.co.uk/thefriendsofthemanorhousemuseum
The Jazz Festival at the Manor House: Friday 19 July, 7pm, Join us for the opening night of the 35th Birmingham, Solihull & Sandwell Jazz Festival. Experience the magical sound of Jazz underneath the beams of our 13th Century Manor House. There will be licensed bar available.
The Jazz festival at The Manor House: Sunday 21 July, 2pm Come along for an afternoon of smooth jazz as part of the 35th Birmingham, Solihull and Sandwell Jazz Festival.
Summer Fun: Look out for our summer holiday activities throughout August
Medieval Mayhem Weekend - 12 & 13 October. Join us at this fabulous medieval building as Buckingham's Retinue re-enactment group bring the house to life as it might have been at the end of the 1400s, with knights and crafts, cooking, games and dancing and more. Look back nearer the time for full details. A fascinating weekend bringing history to life!
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.
Happy Crafters: Every Tuesday from April, 10am-1pm- The Manor House Museum, Are you a crafty person who loves meeting new people? Are you a sewer, a knitter or an embroiderer, a felter, or general crafter? Perhaps you make jewellery, enjoy felting or simply appreciate a good scrapbook. You've heard of knitter natter groups well this is craft and chatter! Whatever your talent, sit within our social circle and become a Happy Crafter at The Manor House Museum, getting together with likeminded people, completing activities you’ll love! £1.00 per person, includes light refreshments. This is a self-led community group and all materials and equipment should be provided by yourself.
A small amount of sewing machines will be available from us on site.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.
Spring into Go-Play - Wednesday 29 May 11am-3pm. Come and join us here at the gallery, where Go Play will be with us bringing with them a range of games, crafts and activities free. Take part in our half term trail and craft activities. So come along between 11am and 3pm and take part and have fun.
The Boy Who Cried Wolf - family puppet theatre production by Angel Theatre: Thursday 30th May 11:30pm performance and 2:30pm Performance with a meet the puppets afterwards. £3 per person (under 2s who don;t need their own seat free) get your tickets from Wednesbury Museum, Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays 10am-4pm ring the doorbell if the doors aren't open or Saturday 2pm-5pm. Cash or cheque only.
Ranbir Kaur: A Journey Through Colours: Spring temporary exhibition April 3 – July – Come and join us in celebrating 30 years of creativity with Ranbir Kaur, international rangoli, Indian Textile and Asian Craft artist. Through this exhibition we learn about Ranbir’s extraordinary life, and see some of her intricate artwork on display. Over the past 30 years, since taking up residency in the UK, Ranbir has worked as an artist and teacher. Her main aim has been to raise the profile of the arts and crafts of Asian Women, as they are an integral part of daily life for those women throughout the world.
Meet the Artist: Sat 1 June & 15 June. 2:30pm-4:30pm. Meet Ranbir Kaur at the museum, enjoy her Indian arts and craft demonstration and ask her questions about her life and work- free
Go-Play at the gallery – Weds 29 May 11am-3pm. pop in and enjoy free activities with Go-Play Sandwell. You can also enjoy trails and quizzes around the museum.
The Boy Who Cried Wolf: Thursday 30 May 11:30am and 2:30pm. Join Angel Heart Theatre for a fantastic puppet family performance. (performance lasts an hour) Tickets £3 per person (children 2 and under free) - Tickets available from museum on Tues, Weds, Thurs 9:30am-4:30pm ring the doorbell or Sat 2pm-4:30pm. Entry to show room for seating 15 minutes before show. You can also enjoy our craft activity of the day. There may be tickets available on the day.
Ruskin Pottery: A presentation/ talk with a difference- Wednesbury Museum at 3pm on Sat June 8 and Weds 5 June at 7pm. Celebrate the launch of our new re-displayed Ruskin Pottery Gallery with a fantastic presentation with a difference celebrating this fabulous colourful pottery and the people who worked in the factory. Learn all about this famous Sandwell Product made in Smethwick. Free – no need to book just turn up! Join Ethel, a glaze mixer at Ruskin Pottery circa 1924 to hear about life in a Smethwick Pottery Factory in a new and interesting way to celebrate the opening of our new Ruskin Pottery gallery at Wednesbury Museum and Art Gallery.Entry Free - No need to book just turn up! ' this project is supported by an Open Access Award from Creative Black Country as part of the Creative People and Places Scheme.
Five Decades of Self Portrait is an exhibition showing at Wednesbury Museum & Art Gallery from 24 May to 29 June presenting photographs from American photographer, David Attie; the Handsworth Self Portrait project (Brian Homer, Derek Bishton and John Reardon); & self-portrait projects from Jubilee Arts & The Public. Exhibition put on as part of the BLAST festival by Multistorey
Join us for a talk as: Jaskirt Boora, Brian Homer & Niall McDiarmid talk about their approach to photographic portraiture, chaired by Dr Euripides Altintzoglou. Reserve your free place here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/artist-talk-launch-five-decades-of-self-portrait-tickets-61162316134 as part of the BLAST festival organised by Multistorey
Museum Tots: Weds 3, Thur 4 July 11am-3pm & Sat 6 2pm-4pm. It’s early years week for very young visitors and their families with soft play, messy crafts and story time. Visit our listings page nearer the time for more details .
The Jazz festival: Sat 20 2:30pm - Join us again this year for live music at the gallery. Performers to be announced. entry FREE
All the Fun of the Fair – Arts Trail 2019. The Sandwell’s “All the Fun of the Fair” 2019 arts trail is open to all amateur artists, Schools and community groups.
The theme for this year’s arts trail is “All the Fun of the Fair”. We are looking for your creative interpretations of fun fairs, circuses, carnivals, and everything in-between. Do you have a photograph of a circus or fun fair? Do you have painting of a circus performer or showman? We want you to submit your pieces so that we can exhibit your work across a number of our museum sites throughout the summer, so that the people of Sandwell can vote for their favourite piece of artwork..
firstname.lastname@example.org 0121 556 0683 for more information or to submit pieces
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:
1st – 29 April: Lee Moore: will be presenting a showcase a Sandwell Showcase: A collection of photographs and images of the Sandwell area.
1st – 30 May: Azeem Akhtar – “Creams”: Azeem will be presenting a range of pieces from the Creams Studio. This pop-up pop-art exhibition is bright colourful and contains some familiar pop culture characters.
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!