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!
Entrance to our sites is FREE unless an admission charge is stated for specific events.
Please note that staff are not available to take phone calls every day. Please leave a message and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.
Follow the links below to the site pages to find out about opening times and facilities - no dogs are allowed apart from assistance dogs and we are unable to accommodate pushchairs inside our buildings.
Summer Opening Hours- Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 2pm-5pm (grounds, not the playground open at 12pm until the end of August) and Sunday 2pm-5pm. 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 third weekend on a Sunday afternoon and meet one of the servants or a member of the family from the 1600s. 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. 3 and 24 July, 14 August, 4 and 25 September. Enjoy the playground and why not bring a picnic to enjoy in the ground?
Children’s table top sale: Tuesday 23 August 12-4pm. Kids, do you fancy earning a bit of extra pocket money to spend in the last few weeks of your holiday? Join us for your very own table top sale. No electrical items please, it is for the sale of children’s games, books and toys only. Booking essential as tables are limited. I adult supervisor per table due to limited space. Mini tuck shop available and tearoom on the day. Call the museum on 0121 553 0759 to book
Back to school week: Tuesday 30 August and Wednesday 31 August 1-5pm
Come and finish off your holiday with us at the Oak House and make some cool stuff to show off to your friends. Design your own pencil case and canvas bags to liven up those boring lessons! Other crafts, quizzes and trails available with a fun back to school theme. Just drop in! £1 to £3 depending on what you make.
Heritage Open Days
John Turton's Guide to Oak House 1650 - Thursday 8 September 2pm-5pm and Sunday 11 September 2pm-5pm. Learn what the Oak House and grounds would have been like at its height in the 1650s and how John Turton made his money. Take our 'key features' trail around the site and meet the servants. We will also be taking small groups up to the 'Animal Room' at the top of the house throughout the afternoon.
A lady traveller abroad - Visit our exhibition in the 'Old Shop' and see items on display which were on display at the house in the 1890s, brought back by local lady traveller Helen Caddick. The items we have chosen are from our Islamic art collection as part of a funded project.
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 - 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.
Crazy Crafts: Thursday 25 & Friday 26 August 11am-3pm. Drop in and choose from lots of different children’s crafts to make & take home From 50p-£3 per item made
Non -digital games day: Thursday 1 Sept 11am-3pm -Why not give your thumbs a rest! Come and play some board & other traditional games.
Haden Hill House Day - Friday 2 Sept 11am-3pm. Find out more about Haden Hill House by joining in with our quizzes & trails, all based on our lovely Victorian house & the family who lived here.
Proms in the Park: Sunday 11 Sept 2pm-6pm. Our popular music afternoon returns this year with Jazz, easy listening music & Halesowen Brass Band, Bring your picnic & your Flags and enjoy the atmosphere in our beautiful park.
Heritage Open Days
Best's Angels: Thursday 8, Friday 9, 11am-4pm and Saturday and Sunday 2pm-5pm as part of our Heritage Lottery Funded project Best's Angels enjoy our activities exploring the lives and travels of the people who lived in the house at the turn of the 20th century and see fabulous photographs from the period. You can also take historical garden tours and on Saturday you can take your own Victorian portraits which might find their way onto the mantlepieces of the house!
Historical Landscape Tour of Haden Hill Park: Thursday 8 September, Friday 9 September: Tour 1100am-1230pm Booking essential.
Take a fascinating history and landscape tour of this historic landscape with local historian John Billingham who has undertaken extensive research to be able to tell you the story of this beautiful parkland. The park is quite steep in places so please wear sensible footwear and a reasonable level of fitness to keep up with the tour will be required.
Proms in the Park—Sunday 11 September 2pm-6pm—Our popular live music afternoon returns to celebrate Heritage Open Days with jazz, easy listening music & Halesowen Brass Band live in the park outside the beautiful Haden Hill House Museum. Why not bring your picnic, a chair or blanket and your flags and enjoy the atmosphere in our beautiful park.
Haden Hall Open Day: Saturday 10, Sunday 11 September 2pm-5pm. Visit our restored 17th century house for one of our annual open days.
Free summer guided tours— Join one of our guided tours and get to look around this fascinating 13th 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
Every Saturday and Sunday from 30 July until 24 and 25 September, 12-4pm. Last tour 3pm (closed on Saturday 6 August due to unforseen circumstances)
Please note that unless you take a guided tour you will only be able to see the Great Hall and the Chapel.
For those who have mobility problems and cannot get around the building please call to arrange a virtual tour of the rest of the building with one of our members of staff.
Due to the success of our ‘cream teas’ to celebrate the Queen Birthday this year, we will be serving them throughout July and August, when we are open for guided tours
Admission and tour free. Cream teas (with unlimited pots of tea) £2.70 for one or £5.00 for two.
Dahl Wednesdays 11am—3pm Admission 50p per person to include storytelling sessions and snack-tasting. Crafts dependant on item made 50p - £4.00. To celebrate Dahl 100 the Manor House welcomes Sandwell Storyplayers to hear tales of well known characters from Dahl’s many books. Who was right? Who is best? James and his Giant peach or Matilda? Is good magic better or bad magic?? YOU decide Storytelling and lots of family fun based on the stories we all know and love, all with a theme and twist, - Join in with the 1st storytelling session at 12noon – then join in the debate at 2pm! There will be snacks for you to try based on the stories, craft workshops, and a hunt themed to the stories being told on that day. Refreshments will be available.
3 August George vs Charlie Bucket - hero
10 August Witches vs Twits - disgusting
17 August James and Giant Peach vs Matilda -magic and insects
24 August BFG vs George’s Marv Medicine - growing and magic spells
31 August Matilda vs Witches - good vs bad magic
Movie Tuesdays: 1pm start (doors open at 12.30pm). 2,9,16, 23 & 30 August Admission Free PLEASE NOTE If a movie is shown in 3D there will be a £1.50 hire charge for the active 3D glasses. Pick up a leaflet from the manor House, check Facebook or call us to see which movie is being screened. Come along and see a different super family movie every week. A small tuck shop will be open. All refreshments/drinks/snack MUST be purchased at the Manor House - 0121 588 2985
Heritage Open Days: Saturday & Sunday 10 & 11 September 11am—4pm Admission free. Discover what Medieval people ate and find out if you would have survived the culinary skills of a Medieval Chef! You will be able to sample some food and take recipes away with you to try at home. The cottage will also be open for a rare chance to see inside one of the surviving out buildings of the house – what would it have been? You are in for a surpriseGo wild with the RSPB Wednesday 27th July 11am—3pm. Admission free, bug hunts £1, crafts dependent on item made 50p—£4. The RSPB will be here giving advice on how to give ‘nature a home’ help us build our bug hotel and have a go at our competition, which will be running throughout the school holidays. There will also be quizzes.
Summer opening hours - Wednesdays and Thursdays 11am-4pm and Saturday 2pm-5pm
Nostalgia Rooms: The Queen and Sandwell. An exhibition of 50 photographs showing people in Sandwell celebrating and meeting the Queen in the 50s, 60s and 70s with fabulous photos of coronation celebrations and visits by the Queen in the 1960s and 70s. Photographs provided by Sandwell Community History and Archives Service.
Around the world family fun: Schools Summer Hols
Crazy craft Wednesdays-throughout the school hols: 11am-3pm. Join us every Wednesday during the school summer hols for loads of great craft activities, games, quizzes and trails.
In the rainforest: 25 August 11am-3pm. Dudley Zoo return with some animals for you to see, you can also see the animal character and have your photo taken. Also have a go at our crafts, quizzes and trails and learn about the rainforest with some fascinating facts. Animals and animal character 12pm-3pm. Book your place on arrival for animals, £1 per child. Please note spaces are limited.
Last chance holiday fun! - Weds 31 and Thursday 1 September, 11am-3pm - Join us at Wednesbury Museum for our last week of holiday fun with loads of craft activities and arty fun, quizzes, trails and giant games to play.
Heritage Open Days
Lost Mansions of the Black Country Talk– Saturday 10 September 2:30pm-4pm. Local historian Ian Bott gives a talk about the mansions which were once all over the Black Country which are now lost. Free
I remember that! - Thursday 8 September: 11am-4pm, Saturday 10 September: 2pm-5pm. Celebrate our new 'Nostalgia Rooms' display and travel back with us to the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s with our nostalgic room settings plus extra objects on display, photographs of Sandwell people celebrating and meeting the Queen in the 50s, 60s and 70s, quizzes, trails, children's craft activities and lots of mid -century memories and nostalgia for all, play some old games, try some 1970s snacks and watch some classic children's TV shows.
Galton Valley Canal Museum, Smethwick, B66 1BA
2016 museum open days: Saturday 9 July (fun day) 13 August, 10 and 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.
Heritage Open Days
Open Day: Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 September, 10am – 3pm. Visit the canal museum housed in the New Smethwick Pumping Station and discover life and work on the canals. Museum staff and volunteers will be on hand to answer your questions and provide light refreshments. There will be craft activities and trails for young visitors and walks to the Smethwick Engine House at 11am and 1pm.
Autumn open day - 11 September 2pm-5pm as part of Heritage Open Days.
Alternatively you can book in a group visit for a small charge per person by calling 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.
- Our museums are closed for general visitors from December until Easter or 1 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, tory below the water line and learn about the skilled engineering that goes into the maintenance of our waterways.organising, undertaking back office activities and admin.
- 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.
- Find out more about each museum and our opening hours.
- 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.