May Spring Bank Holiday events at Birmingham Museums

Saturday 28 May to Sunday 5 June 2016

Walk like an Egyptian to Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery this Spring Bank for a pharaoh-style life-after-death experience that includes studying mummy X-rays, building a pyramid and handling objects left in tombs for the long journey to the ‘afterlife’. There will even be a chance to find out what a mummy smells like, help create a giant collage sarcophagus and watch a mummification magic show.

“Everyone loves Ancient Egypt, no matter how old or young. Throw in a mummy or two and people are transfixed, as these preserved bodies give us a real sense of how much the ancient Egyptians valued life, and the life they thought came after. Our activities over May half term will give people an intriguing insight into the mind-set of this ancient civilisation using 3000-year-old objects,” says Tom Dipple from Birmingham Museums’ Learning Team. “We’ve had a mummy in our collection for over 100 years, and it never fails to fascinate – me included!”

The Egyptian-themed activities are aimed at both families and individuals and include: make clay faces with artist Kate Tilley on Saturday 28 May, from 10.30am-12.30pm (price £2), an Egyptian Sensory Zone from Monday 30 May to Friday 3 June, 11am-4pm (free), Egyptian Life & Death Object Handling on Monday 30 and Tuesday 31 May, and Thursday 2 and Friday 3 June, from 11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm (free), make a giant sarcophagus collage from Monday 30 May to Friday 3 June (free), meet the Ancient Egyptian experts on Tuesday 31 May, from 11am-3pm (free), and make an Egyptian-inspired mask or collar to take home Tuesday 31 May to Friday 3 June, from 11am-1pm & 2pm-4pm (free). The Mummification Magic Show will take place at 11am and 1pm daily from Tuesday 31 May to Friday 3 June (free).

Sea monsters and dinosaurs will rule the roost at Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum, from Saturday 28 May to Sunday 5 June. Inspired by the 200-million-year-old skeleton of the UK’s biggest Ichthyosaurus - now on display in Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum’s newly opened Marine Worlds gallery – there will be suitably prehistoric, fun activities for families including storytelling at

2pm and 2.30pm, craft activities from 3pm-4pm and a dinosaur egg trail daily from 10am-5pm. All these events are free for Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum ticket holders.

Blakesley Hall is celebrating its Tudor heritage, with re-enactments, living history, musicians, craftspeople, themed tours and interactive fun on Sunday 29 and Monday 30 May. Visitors will be able to get involved in Tudor life – learning to write with a quill, dance a Pavane, or even take a role in recreating one of the battle scenes from Shakespeare’s classic play, Henry V! Children – and their parents - will love finding out how Tudor children kept themselves quiet playing real Tudor games. A special treat for this weekend will be a performance of a play written specifically for a Royal visit to the Midlands – Elizabeth I’s visit to Kenilworth Castle in 1575. Performed faithfully to the original script, ‘The Saviour of Albion’ is a rare gem of Elizabethan theatre.

For those who enjoy making things, there are craft activities galore across Birmingham Museums Trust’s heritage sites. Aston Hall has masquerade mask making on Wednesday 1 June, from 11am-3pm for £1, while Blakesley Hall has monarch mask making on Tuesday 31 May from 12.30pm-2.30pm and Tudor Galleon Hat Making on Thursday 2 June, from 12.30pm-2.30pm (both £2). At the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter children can create a hanging mobile to decorate their bedroom on Wednesday 1 June, or a piece of jewellery using recycled materials on Thursday 2 June. Both activities run from 1pm-3pm and cost £4 each. Pre-booking is essential for these two workshops: 0121 348 8140. On Friday 3 June Weoley Castle Ruins has a medieval-inspired craft session from 12 noon – 2pm, costing £1 per child, and Soho House is running a craft activity from 12 noon – 2.30pm which costs £2 per child (free for Soho House ticket holders). Soho House is also the place for swords this half term. There will be a free action-packed demonstration of battles, plus the chance to have a go at swordplay on Saturday 4 June, from 12 noon – 3pm, or visitors can make their own 18th-century sword, or Lord Nelson-inspired hat, on Wednesday 1 June and Saturday 4 June, from 1.30pm-3pm for £2 or free for Soho House ticket holders.

For details of all of these events, and other tours and activities at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum and Birmingham Museums Trust’s five heritage sites, visit


Notes to Editors

Listings: May half-term 2016 event highlights Birmingham Museums

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

Free entry

Saturday Arts Club Make clay faces with artist Kate Tilley Sat 28 May | 10.30am-12.30pm | £2 Egyptian Sensory Zone Hands-on sensory area - build a pyramid and find out what a mummy smells like! Mon 30 May – Fri 3 Jun | 11am-4pm | FREE Egyptian Life & Death Object Handling Mon 30 & Tue 31 May, Thu 2 & Fri 3 Jun | 11am-1pm & 2-4pm | FREE Sarcophagus Collage Help create a giant collage sarcophagus in this fun, family craft! Mon 30 & Tue 31 May, Wed 1 – Fri 3 Jun | FREE

Meet the Experts Meet the Ancient Egyptian experts and take a closer look at mummy x-rays! Tue 31 May |11am-3pm | FREE Ancient Egyptian Masks & Collars Make an Egyptian-inspired mask or collar to take home. Tue 31 May – Fri 3 Jun |11am-1pm & 2-4pm | FREE Mummification Magic Show Tue 31 May – Fri 3 Jun | 11am & 1pm | FREE Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum

All events are free for Thinktank ticket holders.

Sea Monsters and Dinosaurs Storytime Sat 28 May – Sun 5 Jun | 2pm & 2.30pm

Sea Monsters & Dinosaurs Craft Activity Sat 28 May – Sun 5 Jun | 3-4pm Dinosaur Egg Trail Sat 28 May – Sun 5 Jun | 10am-5pm Meet the Experts Meet scientists working at the forefront of the physical sciences. Mon 30 May – Fri 3 Jun | 11am-4pm

Wellcome Images Exhibition An exhibition showcasing the best in science image-making. 10am-5pm

Aston Hall

Masquerade Mask Making Wed 1 Jun | 11am-3pm | £1

Blakesley Hall Tudor Weekend A weekend of Tudor fun as re-enactors, Sir Robert Cecil’s Men, set up camp. Have a go at Tudor dancing, games and quill writing, and watch performances of drama, dance and more. Sun 29 & Mon 30 May | 11am-4pm | Adult £7 |Child £2 Monarch Mask Making Tue 31 May | 12.30-2.30pm | £2 Tudor Galleon Hat Making Thu 2 Jun| 12.30-2.30pm | £2 Animal Mania Meet lizards, snakes, chinchillas, hedgehogs, bunnies, creepy crawlies and more! Fri 3 Jun | 11am-3.30pm | £2 | Free for Blakesley Hall ticket holders

Museum of the Jewellery Quarter Crafts Kids Workshop Create a hanging mobile to decorate your bedroom! Wed 1 Jun |1-3pm | £4 | Pre-booking essential: 0121 348 8140 Crafts Kids Workshop Create a piece of jewellery using recycled materials. Thu 2 Jun | 1-3pm | £4 | Pre-booking essential: 0121 348 8140 Sarehole Mill Pizza Baking Class Sun 22 May | £25 | Pre-booking essential

Games Day

Enjoy traditional games, alongside some more unusual ones in the tranquil surroundings of Sarehole Mill. Mon 30 May | 12 noon – 4pm | Activities free, entrance fee applies to Mill Craft Activity Wed 1 Jun | 1-3pm | £2 Soho House

Family Tours Explore this historic house on a family-friendly tour. There will also be garden games and trails to take part in. Tue 31 May – Sun 5 Jun | 12.30pm | Adult £7 | Child £3 Craft Activity Fri 3 Jun | 12 noon – 2.30pm | £2 | Free for Soho House ticket holders Swords at Soho Action-packed demonstration of battles, plus the chance to have a go at swordplay yourself! Sat 4 Jun| 12 noon – 3pm | FREE Swords and Admiral Hats Craft Activity Create your own 18th-century sword, or Lord Nelson-inspired hat! Wed 1 Jun & Sat 4 Jun | 1.30-3pm| £2 | Free for Soho House ticket holders

Royal Garden Party Sat 11 Jun | 11am-3pm | FREE

Celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday with us. Bring a picnic and take part in a whole host of fun activities. Come in fancy dress as your favourite King or Queen from history. Weoley Castle Ruins

Medieval Craft Activity Make a Medieval-inspired creation to take home with you. Fri 3 Jun | 12 noon – 2pm | £1 per child

Birmingham Museums Trust is an independent charity that manages the city’s museum collection and venues on behalf of Birmingham City Council. It uses the collection of around 800,000 objects to provide a wide range of arts, cultural and historical experiences, events and activities that deliver accessible learning, creativity and enjoyment for citizens and visitors to the city. Most areas of the collection are designated as being of national importance, including the finest collection of Pre-Raphaelite art in the world. Attracting over one million visits a year, the Trust’s venues include Aston Hall, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Blakesley Hall, Museum Collections Centre, Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, Sarehole Mill, Soho House, Thinktank and Weoley Castle.

Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. It supports a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2015 and 2018, Arts Council England plans to invest £1.1 billion of public money from government and an estimated £700 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

For further media information or photographs, please contact:

Jay Commins

Pyper York Limited

Tel:         01904 500698


About Us

Birmingham Museums has extraordinary venues that provide a fascinating glimpse into Birmingham's rich and vibrant past and showcase world class museum collections. Sites include:Birmingham Museum & Art GalleryThinktank, Birmingham's Science MuseumAston HallBlakesley HallMuseum of the Jewellery QuarterSarehole MillSoho HouseWeoley CastleMuseums Collections Centre