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!
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.
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?
Oak House Summer Fayre: Sunday 10 July 12pm – 4pm. Come and join us for a fun filled family afternoon in the beautiful grounds of the Oak House. Browse the many the craft and food stalls on offer. Play instruments with Andy’s Musical Mayhem, take part in exciting crafts, trails and quizzes. Explore the grounds and play games in our secure sand play area. Enjoy Magic, face painting, children’s disco, balloon modelling and so much more inside and outside. Tea room plus hot and cold food available. Relax and unwind in the vinery or picnic area with a fruit infused cordial or non -alcoholic Pimms overlooking the lavender maze. Summer has well and truly arrived!
Birmingham Jazz and Blues Festival: Sunday 17 July 1pm-5pm. Are you in with the in crowd? We have a wonderful afternoon of live music for you with ‘Ricky Cool And The In Crowd’. The 6 piece consist of some of the midlands top players and Ricky’s unique entertainment style presents an explosive mixture of Ska, bluebeat, rhythm and blues and rock n roll. Guaranteed to get your feet tapping. Children’s musical themed crafts, quizzes and trails available to ensure fun for all the family.Why not bring a picnic or indulge in a cream tea courtesy of the Oak House Friends as you listen to the tunes? entry Free
Schools out for summer Tuesday 26 , Wednesday 27 Thursday 28 July 2-5pm . Kick off the summer holiday’s in style and join us for lot’s of summer themed games, crafts , quizzes, colouring and trails inside and out. Refreshments and ‘Tuck’ available to recharge your batteries after all the brain power you have used throughout the school year. Just ditch the timetable and come and have fun this week!
Carnival week Tuesday 2 ,Wednesday 3,Thursday 4 August 1-5pm. We are coming over all Mardi Gras here at Oak House in the lead up to the Rio Olympics. Join us on Tuesday and Wednesday to make wonderful carnival themed crafts including masks, garlands, and musical shakers. Learn about carnivals all around the world in our fun quizzes and trails. On Thursday we will be limbering up for our very own Oak House Olympics with games, races, and sporting activities around the house and gardens. Medals and prizes for participants. Be sure to take your place on the podium.
Creature feature week .Dudley Zoo Meet and Greet Tuesday 9 August 12-4pm .Our friends from Dudley zoo will be here to introduce you to some delightful small animals, Insects and reptiles. Come along to meet and greet them between 12.30 and 3.30pm. You can also get your face painted. Check in at reception when you arrive. No need to pre book. Face painting available £2 per child.
Ceramic bugs wildlife workshop with Creative Black Country Wednesday 10 August 12-4pm
RSPB making a home for nature: Thursday 11 August. 12-4pm Continuing our creature feature week the RSPB will be popping in and sharing their ideas on how to make homes for animals and insects. They will have small projects for you to make on the day and further ideas on what bigger project you can do at home. Creature themed quizzes, puzzles, trails and craft of the day also available.
Children’s table top sale: Tuesday 23 August 12-4pm .Kid’s, 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 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 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.
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.
Haden Hoe Down: Sunday 10 July - 12noon-4. Join us for an afternoon of Country style music, with Ian Casey
There will be children’s entertainment & a performance by New Age Creativity Dance Troupe so dust off your Stetson & cowboy boots and bring your picnic YEE HA!
Birmingham Jazz Festival: Sunday 24 July – 2pm-4pm. The Friends of Haden Hill Estate invite you to join us when as part of the Birmingham Jazz Festival; The Great Birmingham Trombone Company will be performing in Haden Hill Park. Our Tearoom will be open for light refreshments
Songs in Praise: Sunday 31 July- 2pm-4pm. The Salvation Army will be in Haden Hill Park for an hour of rousing songs for all. Our Tearoom will be open for light refreshments
“Buzzy Bee Days”: Thursday 28 & Friday 29 July 11am-3pm. Lots of Bee themed activities for you all to get a “BUZZ” from taking part in. Craft activities from 50p-£2 per item made.
RSPB Homes for wildlife:Wednesday 3 August - 11am-3pm. Our Friends from the RSPB will be here sharing their ideas on how to make homes for animals and insects, you will be able to make a small home for wildlife & they will give you some ideas on how to make a larger home for the wildlife in your gardens.
Imagination & Inspiration: Thursday 4 & 8 August 11am-12noon approx. Let your imagination run wild with our creative writing sessions run by Julie Collcott. Suitable for children 8-11yrs only
Advance booking essential- £3 per child
Puppet Power: Friday 5 August 11am-3pm- Make a puppet, have a go in our mini puppet theatre & join in with our puppet themed trails & quizzes
Recycled musical instruments fun: Thursday 11 August 11am-3pm-Drop in and make a musical instrument out of our recycled material with our music man, Andy. £1 per instrument made
Teddy Bears' Picnic Day: Friday 12 August 11am-3pm. Give your Teddies a treat & bring them to our Picnic, there will be quizzes & trails for you & your Teddy Bear to have a go at.
Creature Feature: Wednesday 17 August 12.30pm-3.30pm-Dudley Zoo returns this summer bringing some wonderful animals for you to learn about & handle, you can also have your face painted by the Zoo’s resident face painter. Face painting £2- free flow to see the animals £1 book your timeslot on arrival.
Loony Balloony: Friday 19 August 11am-3pm - Enjoy some fun children's entertainment as Ron Popple will be performing magic shows and balloon modelling today. Lots of fun and laughter!
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: 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.
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
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 surprise
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.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. BOOKING ESSENTIAL. £5 adults £4 children. max 6 people per team.
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.
Out of Africa: 28 July, 12pm-3pm. Enjoy our African themed day with crafts, quizzes and trails, see live animals with Dudley Zoo and get your face painted.£1 to see animals, facepainting £2
At the British seaside: 4 Aug,11am-3pm. Join us for traditional Punch and Judy shows, craft activities, quizzes, trails and dressing up!
In Paris: 11 Aug 11am-3pm Join us in Paris for a European city break. Make your own Eiffel Tower from junk, try your hand at pavement art, try some French food and enjoy our crafts and trails.
Wednesbury Carribbean: 18 August 11am-3pm Some Caribbean fun with loads of dressing up, music activities to take part in and discover the pirate treasure.
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. Book on arrival for animals, £1
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.
9 July Open day event - 10am-3pm: Visitors looking for a great day out as well as those interested in the regions canal heritage are in for a treat at an open day on Saturday 9th July as Sandwell Museums and the Canal & River Trust give visitors an opportunity to enjoy two great Smethwick canal monuments as well as enjoy some family activities.
The Canal Pumping Station will be open between 10am and 3pm where visitors will be able to learn about the pumping station and children will be able to take part in craft activities, quizzes and trails and enjoy the children’s entertainer with his magic and balloon. Outside on the canal visitors will be able to enjoy an original working boat that was used on the canals and a boat from the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham will also be moored outside the pumping station and visitors can enjoy arts and crafts activities.
Just five minutes away The Canals And River Trust will be inviting people to walk in the bottom of a drained lock during essential maintenance works. Visitors will have the rare opportunity to venture to the bottom of Smethwick Lock One on the Old Mainline Canal and walk along the original 200-year-old brickwork while important repair works are taking place. Along with the lock tours, there will be a full day of activities for all visitors, including opportunities to hear from experts about the history of and current engineering projects along the canal, and nature walks led by an ecologist from the Trust.
Call 0121 556 0683 for information.
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.