Get involved - activities and what's on at Sandwell Museums
Things to do at our museums
Scroll down the page to find out what activities are available and you can enjoy at our different sites!
- Our museums are closed for general visitors from December until Easter or 1st April (whichever is first) apart from special activities including Christmas and February half term. Our sites are not open on Good Friday.
- Staff are available at our sites during the closed period and on days we are not open to general visitors as they will be busy dealing with visiting groups, painting, undertaking maintenance, deep cleaning, organising, undertaking back office activities and admin and organising 2016!
- Keep checking this what's on page as we add and update exhibitions and activities for the coming year all the time. Most of our events are free unless an entry price is shown.
- For general visitor information about visiting our sites, booking and charges please scroll down to the bottom of the page.
- Contacting our sites - please note that staff are not available to take phone calls every day, so please leave a message and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.
Please note that entrance to the Oak House Museum is via the Barns Visitor Centre. The Tea Room at the Oak House will be available at events, with thanks to the Friends of the Oak House Museum.
The 'Old Shop' exhibition room -Islamic Art: Discover some of the fascinating and ancient objects in our collection brought back from around the world by Victorian travellers and discover the story of Helen Caddick.
Meet the Turtons; Sundays 2pm-5pm Visit the Oak House every 3rd weekend on a Sunday afternoonand meet one of the servants or a member of the family from the 1600s and try your hand at some 17th century activities, you can also play 400 year old games in the parlour, enjoy our craft of the day and our Sunday trail. 01 & 22 May, 12 June (Queen’s birthday celebration event 2pm – 5pm), 03 & 24 July, 14 August, 4 & 25 September. Enjoy the playground and why not bring a picnic to enjoy in the grounds.
Oak House Community Fun Day: Saturday 21 May, 11am –3pm. After a hugely successful 2015, our community fun day is back. With live music, BBQ, dancing and much more there will be fun for all the family. Browse stalls, explore the grounds and take part in activities running throughout the day. There may be a small charge for some activities.
Adventure Fun Day: Monday 30 May, 12pm – 4pm. It is adventure week at the Oak House! Try our archery game, take part in Zorb ball inflatable human football, explore the grounds with games and quizzes and much more. Booking essential for inflatable football (recommended for ages 8+) £3 per person. Bookings will be taken on the day.
Treasure hunt and activities: Tuesday 31 May, 12pm – 4pm. Follow the clues and find your way to the end of our treasure hunt! Suitable for children 3+. Take part in craft activities for all the family.
Creative Adventure Crafts: Wednesday 1 June, 12pm -4pm. Get creative and make something to celebrate the Oak House adventure week! With something suitable for all ages it is great fun for all the family. 50p-£3 depending on what you decide to make. Games, quizzes and trails all available.
Games and Crafts Galore: Thursday 2 June, 12pm – 4pm. Make the most of the school break and just drop in one more time for some great family fun. We have giant snakes and ladders, hoopla, noughts and crosses to name but a few. Have a go at our adventure trails, crafts, quizzes and colouring.
Weekly groups Beginning in February
1600s Gardening Group - Join our volunteer group and help us to garden the grounds for wildlife and in a 1600s style. Tuesdays 10am-1pm.
Nifty Knitters, knitting group 11am-1pm £1 - Every Friday (apart from Good 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.
Tudor Day at the Old Hall: Sunday 22 May & 19 June 2pm-4.30pm - Come along and see the birds of prey in the park, see the old hall open to the public and see our costumed characters playing music and performing Tudor dancing. You can also learn about Tudor food.
Introducing Best’s Angels– begins 28 & 29 May 2pm-6pm. Have you ever wondered what young Victorian ladies with their leisure time? Step into their shoes in our new Morning Room installation (supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund). More about the project at www.bestsangels.wordpress.com/
Bank Holiday Monday Fun: 30 May 1.30pm-4.30pm. Ron Popple will be performing magic and balloon modelling..lots of fun! Also quizzes and trails.
Seaside Music Children's music activities and sing-a-long: Tues 31 May 11am-3pm. Our music man Andy Casserley will be playing seaside music…come along and join in. The RSPB will also be here with information and workshops, times to be arranged.
Closed for a wedding Wed 1 June
Old Hill by the Sea: Thurs 2 June 11am-3pm. Bring along your imagination! Costumed characters, seaside themed workshops and trails.
Whitsun Punch and Judy Shows: Fri 3 June 11am-3pm. Join Ron Popple for a traditional seaside Punch and Judy show, plus workshops and trails.
Meet the Saxons Sat 4 and Sun 5 June 12-4pm- Enjoy our interactive Staffordshire Hoard exhibition in our exhibition room meet the Thegns of Mercia costumed interpreters meet warriors, enjoy some music-and-verse, Saxon weaving, and jewellery making demonstrations , you can also enjoy our kid’s crafts quizzes and trails.
The Queen's 90th Birthday Celebrations Sun 12 June 12noon-4pm. Join the celebrations with lots of family fun activities and children’s entertainer.
Antiques Fair: Sunday 26 June TIMES TO BE CONFIRMED. To be held in Haden Hill House Museum and the Old Hall
Sandwell Museums' Art Group exhibition: 26 March to 29 May 2016. Enjoy creations produced by Sandwell Museum Service's three art groups who meet at Wednesbury Museum
Find out about general opening times, facilities, directions and other information about Haden Hill House and Old Hall.
The festival players present Hamlet: Bank Holiday Monday 30 May 5pm start Gates open at 4pm. In Advance £12 Adults £10 Concessions. On the Day £14 Adults £12 Concessions. In celebration of the 400th Anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, The Festival Players Theatre Company is proud to present the Bard’s most famous play, Hamlet. Presented in full costume, an all-male company will bring you the excitement of this great thriller; intrigue, ghostly visitations, passion, a play-within-a play, a gripping duel, and humour, in a crystal-clear and fast-paced 2-Hour production. Bring your own chairs or a blanket and have a picnic in the grounds of this wonderful 13th century Medieval Manor House. No umbrellas. You can purchase tickets online
Manor House by the sea THE BEACH IS OPEN: Tuesday 31 May – 4 June 11am—3pm Admission Free. Come to the seaside – on your doorstep. The Manor House beach will be open this week. Crafts and refreshments will be available.
Oh I do like to be beside the seaside: Wednesday 1 June The beach will be open, donkey rides and punch and Judy shows will also be available There will be a charge for some activities.
The Manor House sewing Club Classes: Monday evenings between 7pm—9pm 2nd May—6th June SKIRTS—A-line, pencil, Maxi or a style that suits your personality.13th June—18th July SUMMER DRESS—fitted, maxi, plain, patterned the decision is yours. £40 per person for a 6 weeks course including refreshments (Basic equipment will be included but other Materials can be purchased from the Manor House or own materials can be supplied) Learn how to use basic and advanced Sewing Techniques to create either a Skirt or a summer dress within 6 sessions! Bring: Yourself and your creative flair! Gain: Confidence in your own ability to create and sew clothing and other textile items! And also meet new people! Come and try something new or even just polish up already known skills! Places are Limited, book early to avoid disappointment! Please Phone: 0121 588 2985 Anybody aged under 16 must be accompanied by an adult if they wish to attend.
Black Country Day Ay It! Saturday 9th July 12noon – 11pm. Admission Free. There will be live music, comedians, Magic shows, competitions, Dog Shows and much more. A licenced bar will be open all day and food will also be available. Plus Paw Patrol will be making an appearance for the little people of the Black Country. There may be a small charge for some activities.
Free summer guided tours— Join one of our guided tours and get to look around this fascinating thirteenth century building, try on some armour and play medieval games and see some of our rooms displayed as they may have looked in the late medieval period. Guided Tours last approximately 1 hour—no need to pre-book
Saturday & Sunday 14,15 May, 11, 12 June, 12noon — 4pm and then every Saturday and Sunday from 30 July until 24 & 25 September. 12-4pm last tour 3pm
Patent Shaft reunion: Saturday 23 April 1pm to 4pm. For ex-employees of the Patent Shaft this is a great chance to meet up with old friends and colleagues. Entry free
Treasure! The Discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard 13 April 2016 – 2nd June 2016. Open Weds and Thurs 11.00am-4.00pm and Sat 2.00pm-5.00pm. An exciting interactive touring exhibition telling the story of how the Staffordshire Hoard was found and saved for the nation is coming to Sandwell Museums in spring 2016. The exhibition features high quality replicas of the Staffordshire Hoard, showing how it might have looked when it was first crafted. With hands-on interactives, handling objects and dressing up to help bring the Anglo-Saxons to life for visitors.
Join us on Saturdays and enjoy our Anglo Saxon themed craft activities, quizzes and trails 2pm-5pmSaxon gold!- 7 May 2pm-5pm. The Staffordshire Hoard shows how fond the Saxons were of bling! Men and women used to fasten their clothes with elaborate brooches and jewels to show how important they were and wore beads from around the world. Join us to make and design Saxon brooches and beaded bracelets and create your own Saxon treasure. Also enjoy our Anglo-Saxon treasure hunt
Saxon treasure chest: 14 May 2pm-5pm. Decorate your own mini Saxon treasure chest to take home and fill it with Saxon treasure and have a go at our teasure trails and quizzes. £1.50 to decorate your treasure chest.
Dark Age board game - 21 May 2pm-5pm. In the days before TV the Saxons and Vikings liked to play board games. Have a go at making your own Dark Age Board game to take home. £2 per game made. Also enjoy our quizzes and trails.
Crafty Saxons - 28 May 2pm-5pm - Enjoy an afternoon of exciting Anglo-saxon themed craft activities. Decorate a sword or shield, design a saxon treasure chest, make some Saxon jewellery to show how important you are or create a Saxon crown. £1-£2 depending what you make. You can also enjoy our saxon quizzes and trails.
Wednesbury music club concert: 7:30pm. Walsall Harmonic Male Voice Choir. A return visit to the museum from this accomplished choir. Doors open 7:30pm for a 7:45 start. Concerts open to non-members £5 or £2.50 concessions.
Anglo-Saxon antics at half term
Saxons are rubbish –Monday 30 Bank Holiday Monday & Tuesday 31 May 11am-3pm– Visit Wednesbury Museum and create your own Anglo-Saxon Village or Anglo-Saxon warrior from a load of old Junk and craft materials. We provide the junk and materials, £1 per child. You can also try your hand at creating your own life size Anglo-Saxon grave goods picture by drawing around yourself and then using our craft materials and stick on jewels to create your picture £1. You can also enjoy our Anglo-Saxon quizzes, trails and games. Entry Free
The Storyplayers discover the hoard. Wednesday 1 June 11am-3pm. Visit the museum and enjoy our interactive drama performances designed to dazzle the senses with the Storyplayers metal detectorists. Loads of great family fun. Performances at 12pm and 2pm. You can also enjoy our crazy craft activities, and our Anglo-Saxon treasure hunt. Entrance Free but a small charge for craft activities
Meet the Saxons –Thursday 2 June 11am-3pm. Meet some real life Anglo-Saxons at the gallery with our historical interpreters the Thengs of Mercia and learn about life in Anglo-Saxon Sandwell. Also enjoy our games, trails and craft activities – Entrance Free. 50-£2 for craft activities.
Crazy Craft Saturdays - Younger visitors can enjoy our Saturday craft or art activities, quizzes and trails. 50p-£2 depending what you make or activity on offer
Groovy Man! - 18 June.1-4pm 60s and 70s family fun afternoon to launch our Nostalgia Rooms display with loads of great entertainment.
Nostalgia Quiz— Friday 8 July. Enjoy our quiz night with questions about the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. Doors open 7pm, quiz 7:30pm-9:30pm cost to include fish and chip supper call 0121 556 0683 for details.
Galton Valley Canal Museum, Smethwick, B66 1BA
2016 museum open days: Saturday 12 March, Saturday 9 April and Saturday 14 May (craft demonstrations, 11 June, 9 July (Fun Day), 9 July, 13 August, 10 & 11 September, 8 October, 5 November - 10am to 3pm.
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.
Call 0121 556 0683 for information.
Open Day to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Bishop Asbury - Thursday 31 March 11am-4pm Entry Free & Sunday 3 April 2pm-5pm.
Spring open day - 5 June 2pm-5pm
Autumn open day - 11 September 2pm-5pm
Alternatively you can book in a group visit for a small charge per person at 0121 556 0683
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!
General information for visitors
- Entrance to our buildings and activities is free unless a ticket price is stated. However there may be a small charge activities.
- Booking for activities is not normally required but each listing will state if booking is needed.
- We are unable to accommodate pushchairs inside our buildings, due to the size and nature of our sites.
- Where an event is advertised as 'booking essential' we cannot guarantee that there will be any places left on the day of the event. Please call the site to find out.
- We are unable to take bookings via email please phone the relevant site and leave a message. Staff are not available every day to answer the phone but please leave a message and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.
- Please note there are platform lifts to the first floors at Wednesbury Museum and Haden Hill House. Oak House and the Manor House are not accessible.
- Last admission to our sites is 30 minutes before the museum closes
- Guide dogs only.
- For information about parking and getting to our sites etc please follow the links above to each site.
- Shoes must be worn at ALL times in the Oak House playground
- Find out about the accessibility of our sites with our - access statement.
- If you would like to find out about our normal opening hours for casual visitors follow the links above to the relevant buildings.