FREE entry across Shropshire Museums & Archives for Heritage Open Days

In celebration of the Heritage Open Days, Shropshire Museums and Archives are waiving entry fees and putting on special events to create a unique visitor experience.

Running from Thursday 7 September until Sunday 10 September 2017, Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery, Shrewsbury Castle, Shropshire Archives and Acton Scott Historic Working Farm, are each offering free entry and special events to visitor.

Lezley Picton, Shropshire Council Cabinet member for Culture and Leisure, said:

“Heritage Open Days is the largest heritage festival in the UK so it’s great to see Shropshire Museums and Archives getting involved.

“As well as the amazing things to see and do at each site, visitors will get to go behind the scenes and see and do things that are only available a very limited number of times a year.

“I’d encourage everyone to make the most of this great opportunity and get to our sites… and it’s free!”

Loyd Grossman, Patron of Heritage Open Days, said:

“At a time when many of our heritage sites, museums and buildings of cultural interest are under increasing economic pressure it’s heart-warming to see the number of Heritage Open Days events continue to grow.  Our army of volunteers play an important role in championing our wonderfully diverse local heritage, opening up doors and keeping access free for these very special four days every year. We are keen to encourage people to stand up for the places that are important to them by bringing to life their stories for everyone to enjoy.”

Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery

An image of mammoth bones on display at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery that visitors can see over the Heritage Open Days.

Mammoth bones found in Condover on display at Shrewsbury Museum Art Gallery

On Sunday 10 September, visitors to Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery will be able to enter for FREE and see the amazing collections telling over 750 years of history in Shrewsbury and Shropshire.

Usually £4.50 for adults, you will get to see some of the best preserved mammoth bones in the UK, one of the finest geology collections as well an entry to Antarctica: Life in a hostile land and Synthetic Landscapes.

Guided town tours

As well free access to the Museum’s galleries on Sunday 10 September, you can explore the Medieval town of Shrewsbury on a free guided town tour, which usually cost £7.50. Advanced booking is advised to ensure your place.

Tour dates and times

Thursday 7 September: 2pm
Friday 8 September: 2pm

To book your place on one of these free guided town tours, call 01743 258888.

Shropshire Archives

An image of historic documents being looked after by a lady at Shropshire Archives ensuring the history and heritage of Shropshire is retained.

Behind the scenes at Shropshire Archives

Your chance to see behind the scenes at Shropshire Archives including the stores where over 5 miles (9 kilometres!) of records are housed in environmentally controlled conditions as well as the conservation and reprographics sections. A selection of our fantastic collections will also be on show including the recently conserved minute books of Much Wenlock Borough dating from 1495-1810.

Tour dates and times
Thursday 7 September: 2pm
Friday 8 September: 2pm

Pre-booking is essential. To book your place call 0345 678 9096 or email archives@shropshire.gov.uk.

An image of Laura's Tower at Shrewsbury Castle with green trees to the right and ivy growing up the side. Laura's Tower is open for the Heritage Open Days festival.

Laura’s Tower at Shrewsbury Castle (©Chris Glover)

Shrewsbury Castle

Sunday 10 September will see a rare occurrence at Shrewsbury Castle… the opening of Laura’s Tower.

Open one day a year for the Heritage Open Days festival, making your way to the top of Laura’s Tower will give you truly unique views across Shrewsbury making it a special opportunity not to be missed.

Visitors will also be able to enter the Castle Grounds and Shrewsbury Castle housing Shropshire Regimental Museum for FREE.

Acton Scott Historic Working Farm

An image of a toddler stroking a lamb that is being held by a farm worker keeping alive the heritage of a Victorian Farm.

Toddler meets the lambs at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm

With its’ of range of young and adult farm animals, working farm demonstrations and much more, Acton Scott Historic Working Farm is a perfect family day out. And… on Saturday 9 September, it’s FREE.

As well as free admission, the Farm is also holding extra demonstrations and behind the scenes guided tours so you can learn more about the workings of a Victorian Farm, and maybe, just maybe, get a little closer to the baby animals!

For more information, call 01694 781307 or email acton.scott.museum@shropshire.gov.uk.

An image of mammoth bones, with a huge tusk in the foreground, that are kept in the stores at Ludlow. Visitors can see these on 9 September as part of the Heritage Open Days

Mammoth bones in the stores at Ludlow Museum & Resource Centre

Ludlow Museum & Resource Centre

Enjoy a free 20 minute talk about the ‘Treasure’ acquired by Shropshire Museums through the Treasure Act. This talk focuses on artefacts held in the stores at Ludlow Museum Resource Centre and you’ll have the chance to hold some of the amazing treasures.

Saturday 9 September, 11 am – 12 noon

Following the talk you’ll have the chance to visit the Geology Store and view Shropshire’s other giant treasure, the MAMMOTH!

About Heritage Open Days

Heritage Open Days is the largest heritage festival in the country; in 2015, over 4,800 events welcomed around three million visitors across England.

Heritage Open Days operates as part of the National Trust with funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said:

“This is the second year that players have supported Heritage Open Days, which continues to grow, not only in the number of events, but the diversity and quality of activities right across England.  We look forward to seeing thousands of people sharing the hidden histories on their doorstep and making a difference to their communities this September.”

Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery to celebrate the battle of Waterloo with new exhibition

Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery are delighted to welcome visitors to their new exhibition, War and Peace, which is now open.

War and Peace tells the story of the Hill family of Hawkstone and Attingham through jugs, mugs and medals that commemorate General Election, the Peninsular War and Lord Hill’s Column between 1796 and 1906.

An image of two jugs and a commemorative tankard emblazoned with an image of William Hill in a display case in the War and Peace exhibition at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery in celebration of Waterloo Weekend.

Some of the items on display in the War and Peace exhibition at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery

The most significant features of this exhibition is a collection of election jugs that celebrate the Parliamentary election success of members in the early 19th century, including Sir Rowland Hill, William Hill and Benjamin Disraeli.

The beautiful collection consists of items purchased by Shropshire Museum’s Service with and Art Fund grant, loaned medals and Coalport election jugs donated by Rev. Richard Hayes.

The collections can be seen in the community gallery at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery.

Rev. Richard Hayes, Chairman of The Friends of Lord Hill’s Column, said:

“Saving items of Shropshire’s history for Shropshire people to enjoy in their county Museum has been a source of great joy.”     

War and Peace is more than an exhibition, however. It is one of a number of events in Shrewsbury, organised in partnership with the Friends of Lord Hill’s Column and Shrewsbury Civic Society that celebrate Lord Hill’s significant involvement and influence in the famous Battle of Waterloo and the famous Lord Hill’s Column.

The Waterloo Weekend celebrations are to take place from Friday 16 June until Sunday 18 June 2017.

Waterloo Weekend – 16 – 18 June 2017

Organised by the Friends of Lord Hill’s Column, the Waterloo Weekend celebrations run from Friday 16 June until Sunday 18 June 2017 to mark the anniversary of the famous battle.

Coade Stone talk – Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery on Friday 16 June 2017 @ 6pm

Kicking the weekend off is a fascinating talk by Caroline Stanford on Mrs Coade and the making of Lord Hill’s statue.

Caroline is a historian and Head of Engagement with the Landmark Trust as well a published author and an expert on Coade Stone, the material of which Lord Hill’s statue is made.

Tickets are £10 and are available from the Visitor Information Centre at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery in the Music Hall.

Walk up Lord Hill’s Column and the Revival of the Lord Hill March

An image of Lord Hill's Column in Shrewsbury. The sky is blue with some cloud and two trees stand before the column. The Column is central to the Waterloo Weekend celebrations

Lord Hill’s Column, Shrewsbury

Lord Hill’s Column will be open to the public from 12pm – 4pm on Saturday 17 June and Sunday 18 June, when all fatherswill go FREE to mark Father’s Day.

For just £5 you can climb the column and take in the breath-taking views of the medieval town of Shrewsbury, and become a life-long member of the Friends of Lord Hill.

 As well as climbing Lord Hill’s Column, you can enjoy the revival of the Lord Hill March by Thomas Tomlin circa 1813, which is to be played for the first time in 200 years by the Shrewsbury Brass Band. Members of the   23rd Regiment of Foot Royal Welch Fusiliers re-enactment society will be present on Saturday.

National Civic Day – Saturday 17 June 2017 @ 3pm

Join Rev. Richard Hayes at 3pm on Saturday, 17June 2017 for the mile long walk from the Column to the Bear Steps and appreciate some of the surviving architecture that lines this important first view of Shrewsbury that travellers would have seen in the 1820’s.

The walk will culminate in an intriguing illustrated talk about our local hero, Lord Hill.

Further Information 

Coade Stone:

Lord Hill’s statue is one of the largest monuments to come out of Mrs Coade’s manufactory in Lambeth, London. In the latter part of the eighteenth and the early part of the nineteenth centuries. Coade stone was used to decorate the exterior of private houses and public buildings and was also widely used to embellish parks and gardens. There are examples of urns, vases, fountains, sundials, gateways and other garden buildings throughout the country. Local examples include a Coade stone lion at Lilleshall Hall and a sundial at Weston Park.

Lord Hill’s Column Opening Dates:

The Column is open on three more dates over the course of 2017:

Sunday 9 July                     12pm – 4pm

Saturday 19 August            11am – 4pm

Sunday 10 September        12pm – 4pm

STOP THE CLOCK for Shrewsbury Museum at Night

It’s time you visited Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery for Museums at Night on 17 May between 4pm – 9pm.

The Clock Room – Enter ‘The Clock Room’ and become part of the mechanism

An image of a light display of different types of clock faces beamed onto plates on a snowy evening.

Light displays by Andy McKeown

An immersive multi projector light and sound installation by internationally renowned multi –media artist, Andy McKeown, will fill the special exhibitions gallery at Shrewsbury Museum with a mesmerising profusion of real and impossible animated clocks.

Experience kaleidoscopia LIVE

Transform your post-it note doodles into beautiful moving kaleidoscopic light with the kaleidoscopia LIVE arcade machine!

Heyday Arts

Unleash your inner creative and make time for some museum inspired art with Heyday Arts

Bar and live music

Turn back the clock and feel our pre-history and Tudor galleries come to life with Tudor musicians and Stone Age specialists.

Refreshments for little people and grown-ups by STOP Café