With less than a month to go until schools are out for summer, Birmingham Museums has announced an exciting, action-packed programme featuring trails, outdoor theatre and hands-on-activities for families to explore and enjoy.
With activities at Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum, as well as at the city’s historic properties – Aston Hall, Blakesley Hall, Museum of the Jewellery Quarter and Sarehole Mill - there’s something for visitors of all ages to experience throughout the summer holidays.
Alongside popular family trails around the various heritage sites there are opportunities visitors to create their own sustainable fashion, challenge themselves in a fun run and join in with the telling of a popular fairy-tale.
“Our summer programme offers the perfect family-friendly school holiday activities for kids and parents who after a year of lockdowns desperately need to get out and about,” says Janine Eason, Director of Engagement at Birmingham Museums. “We’re looking forward to a jam-packed summer with something different happening across our sites every week.”
At Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum, which will be open 7 days a week from 19 July until 5 September, visitors can make a splash with the ‘Wonderful Water Show’, look at some fabulous objects relating to mind-blowing careers with ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’, and become a local nature expert spotting hidden insects and identifying birds in ‘Who’s living here?’ (28 July – 27 / 29 August). At Thinktank’s Toddler Thursday younger visitors can take part in fun (and messy!) sensory play sessions exploring ‘Wonderful Water’ (5 and 19 August) and ‘Happy Habitats’ (12 and 26 August).
Also at Thinktank, families can enjoy an evening of outdoor fun at the Science Garden Barbecue (7 August) where the inventive exhibits promise to be more than just hands-on! Try out the eight-metre-high clanging ‘Terminus’ machine, see how fast you can go on the giant human-sized hamster wheel, create your very own mini-raft and enjoy delicious freshly-cooked food from the barbecue. And visitors can transform old jeans and t-shirts and learn about sustainable fashion in ‘From Fast Fashion to Upcycling’ (20 August).
At the magnificent Aston Hall, children can join in a magical, creative storytelling tour including searching for a prince and peeking into an enchanted mirror with Beauty and the Beast (6, 20 and 27 August). And at Blakesley Hall they can guess which bed has been slept in with Goldilocks and the Three Bears (5, 12 and 19 August). Both Aston Hall and Blakesley Hall are also open for visits every week, Wednesday – Sunday.
Outdoor theatre performances can also be enjoyed by all ages in the gardens of Blakesley Hall thanks to the Crescent Theatre and their staging of the classic tale of cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle in George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion (24 and 25 July). Over at Aston Hall, Attic Theatre and the Tread the Boards Company will be performing their special outdoor production of Alice in Wonderland (6 August).
The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter is the perfect place to unleash children’s creativity with a Kids’ Jewellery Workshop (11 August) using real jewellers’ techniques - such as texturing metal, stamping and enamelling - to make their own bracelet or pendant to take home. There’s a special chance too for families to explore the extraordinary time capsule of the Smith and Pepper jewellery firm and discover what it was like to work there (24 July and 21 August). Visitors can also hear fascinating stories of the people and places that shaped Birmingham’s world-famous industry in a Jewellery Quarter Heritage Walk (24 July and 21 August).
At Sarehole Mill there’s an outdoor guided walk exploring the scenery that inspired Lord of the Rings author, J.R.R Tolkien, in ‘Origins of Middle-earth’ (25 July, 5, 15 and 22 August). This summer also sees the return of Sarehole Mill’s popular Run of The Mill - a fun challenge for visitors to sign up to run, walk or jog 5k and claim a fantastic #ROTMsummer medal (1 July – 31 August). The mill’s popular Pizza in the Courtyard, Bakehouse and community shop will be open all summer too.
Families can also take part in a real life scientific BioBlitz by becoming a nature explorer to discover and record the natural environment and bio-diversity of the gardens at Blakesley Hall (22 July), Sarehole Mill (25 July) and Aston Hall (4 August).
Find out more about the summer programme at Birmingham Museums by visiting https://www.birminghammuseums.org.uk/whats-on for opening times, event and ticket details.