The Fitzwilliam Museum is hosting activities all weekend. Photo © 24 Hour Museum
Museums and Galleries Month 2007 kicked off this week and is really hotting up with some inspiring events at venues across the country throughout May.
One of the highlights of the month is the Welcome Weekend, coinciding with the Bank Holiday from May 4-7, when museums and galleries will offer visitors something different and encourage people to discover something new, unique and unexpected in their neighbourhood.
Museums and Galleries Month is the annual celebration of the nation’s museums, galleries and heritage sites and this year hundreds of venues are taking part with more than 850 events already logged on the 24 Hour Museum’s database of searchable listings.
Bede's World will show what it was like to be an Anglo-Saxon warrior. Photo Bede's World
Every region has something going on. In the East of England the Fitzwilliam Museum is organising a free weekend for all ages with talks, trails, workshops, competitions and music, with art materials from the Far East to try.
Over in the East Midlands Brewhouse Yard Museum of Nottingham Life will be pulling out the stops on Bank Holiday Monday with a 1940s knees-up. Trilby hat or painted-on stockings optional but music, re-enactors and 40s memorabilia guaranteed.
The West Midlands will also have plenty going on. Wolverhampton Art Gallery launches its Art 4 Kids club on Saturday and on Friday and Saturday anyone can help to create the museum's Welcome Mat by adding a few stitches of their own to it.
Head of the Science Museum Jon Tucker will be leading tours of the venue. Photo Science Museum
In London, the ever-popular Science Museum is running a series of exclusive free tours on Monday led by none other than the head of the museum himself, Jon Tucker. Jon will talk about some of his personal favourite exhibits like Stephenson’s Rocket and the Babbage engine.
Bede’s World in Jarrow in the North East is stepping back into Anglo-Saxon times from Saturday to Monday with Arms and Armour: What was life like for an Anglo-Saxon warrior? Living history group The Time Bandits will be wielding their swords and shields, explaining how the Anglo-Saxons fought and prepared for battle.
Manchester Art Gallery has loads to do for adults and families on Monday with its Your Welcome! day. There will be tours and activities throughout the day and, when you want to take the strain off your feet, you can sit down and chill out with some relaxing music.
If you live near Livingstone in Scotland and you are a card-carrying carnivore then The Grand Almond Valley Sausage Exposition at Almond Valley Heritage Centre on Sunday is not to be missed. The sizzle of sausages and wafting smells of traditional Scottish puddings and haggis will fill the air at this light-hearted family event.
The Museum of East Asian Art's founder Brian S McElney will be leading tours. Photo MEAA
Almost as hotly contested as the elections to the Scottish Parliament, local butchers will be battling it out to win the ‘best banger ballot’ and there will be plenty of other activities, music and demonstrations including testing out high-speed black puddings.
In the South East, Maidstone Museum and Bentlif Art Gallery is inviting visitors to explore their identity with its People - Who Are We? event on Saturday. Take a trip to the ancient civilisations Hands On Station and then search the museum to find and draw an artefact that means something to you and your identity.
Across the country in Bath, the Museum of East Asian Art is running a Welcome Tour on Saturday with the museum’s founder Brian S McElney. Brian will be explaining all about the history of the museum and its fascinating collection. Advance booking is recommended.
Manchester Art Gallery wil be making visitors welcome over the weekend. Photo MAG
Wales is full of history and excellent museums and on Saturday Ruthin Gaol will be hosting a day of Victorian Music with period music expert Richard York. Richard will play Victorian music on different instruments and show how different classes of people enjoyed different types of music.
After the Welcome Weekend there will be lots more to do during Museums and Galleries Month – check the 24 Hour Museum for more suggestions as the month goes on.
Make sure you check with the venues as many of the events are only running are certain times during the day – contact details below.