The Cotswold Motor Museum and Toy Collection is packed full of curiosities. © the museum
Museums and Galleries Month gives visitors to heritage venues across the country a rare chance to get behind the scenes, giving a deeper insight into the work they do and the vast stores of objects not normally on display.
The 24 Hour Museum have come up with a Top 10 rundown of some of the highlights that we hope will inspire you to discover more about a venue near you:
Indiana Jones and Lara Croft may be the Hollywood version of archaeologists, but what does real world archaeology actually involve? Throughout MGM at Mansfield Museum and Art Gallery, visitors will have the opportunity to delve beneath the surface of this fascinating subject and to look more closely at both the archaeologists and the lives of the people unearthed by their work.
There is lots more to discover behind the scenes at Manchester Art Gallery. © Manchester Art Gallery
The New Art Gallery in Walsall (on May 5 and 6) and Manchester Art Gallery (May 9-16) are both inviting the public behind the scenes to part of the galleries not normally open. Tours will explore the facilities and stores and provide an insight into exhibition installation and the realities of gallery working life.
Over in Wales Ceredigion Museum is holding a series of lunchtime talks every Wednesday throughout May where curators and museum staff will illuminate a wide variety of the museum’s activities.
On May 26 and 27, the Salt Museum in Northwich, Cheshire is throwing open its doors to places that are normally out of bounds, for a nose around the stores or a peek at the magnificent Board of Guardians meeting room. Staff will also be on hand to talk about the museum and what their role is within it.
The University of Dundee acquired Hawkhill House in the 1960s, and this charming 18th century farmhouse now houses the main stores and offices of the University Museum Services. Curator Matthew Jarron will give guided tours of the building on May 7, revealing some of its history and many of the highlight’s from the University’s unique collections of art, science and natural history.
Visitors to the Roald Dahl Story Centre can delve into its archive on the multi-talented author
The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire is revealing what is in its archives on May to help explore more about who Roald Dahl really was – a writer, an inventor, a RAF pilot and a photographer. People who bring along an old shoebox, some photos and things that represent them can learn how to create an archive of themselves.
On May 19 Bath’s Roman Baths will be leading trips into the stores and showing some of its rarely seen artefacts like needle douches and a Vichy bath and explain how the sedan chair evolved into the bath chair.
Bath's Roman Baths have a wealth of artefacts waiting to be discovered. © Roman Baths
From May 5 to 28 Weston Park in Shropshire opens its magnificent – and usually locked – cabinets to reveal the treasures inside. As well as discovering what is inside them visitors can find out how they were made and all about the people who commissioned them.
Also in the West Midlands, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery will be presenting a series of events to lift the lid on the techniques they use to take care of the fragile items in their collection and stop them falling to pieces over time.
The Museum of South Yorkshire Life is showing what went into the extensive restorations at Cusworth Hall with a day of activities on May 9, giving the chance to find out about the remarkable discoveries made during the refurbishment.
These are just some of the fascinating behind the scenes events happening at museums and galleries for MGM - to find out more about what’s going on in your area go to the MGM website.