Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery’s Christmas gift with the National Lottery

From 12 to 17 December 2017, Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery are offering free entry for National Lottery players.An image promoting the HLF thank you campaign to National Lottery players through which Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery are offering free entry to people who are able to present a lottery ticket.

Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery will be throwing open its doors for free to National Lottery players from 12 – 17 December 2017. They are joining participating National Lottery funded visitor attractions across the UK in saying ‘thanks’ to people who have raised money for good causes by buying a lottery ticket.

The idea is simple: any visitor who presents a National Lottery ticket or scratchcard from Monday 12 – Sunday 17 December 2017 gets free entry in return.

Proof of ticket can be paper or digital.  Date of draw/purchase is not relevant.

This offer of free entry is valid from Monday 12 – Sunday 17 December 2017 only and covers all tickets.

Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery have the right to refuse entry in the unlikely event of venue reaching capacity, as well as unforeseen circumstances.

Perfect for families and history lovers alike, Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery allows you to explore millions of years of history through over one thousand remarkable objects as well as the current special exhibition, Samurai: Warriors of Japan.

Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery received £999,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The money paid for development officers during the restoration, collections management facilities and temporary exhibition spaces.

Severndale’s Historical Takeover Day

Students from Severndale Specialist Academy have been working with staff from Shrewsbury Museum since early September, to put together displays and exhibitions for the Kids in Museum Takeover Day 2017. They spent weeks creating the artworks displayed in their own exhibition for the day all based around World War II, from poppies to aeroplanes, gas masks and toys of the day. Professionally and enthusiastically they talked to members of the public about their displays.

An image of two pupils from Severndale Specialist Academy reading to our mini-mammoths and their parents in the Shropshire gallery.

Severndale pupils with our Mini Mammoths

Fay Bailey, Learning and Communications Manager at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery, said:

“We were thrilled to have the opportunity to hand-over the museum to such a talented group of students from Severndale, Wilfred Owen and Severndale at Mary Webb Schools. The children’s’ infectious enthusiasm and warmth made Kids in Museums Takeover Day a truly wonderful experience for our staff, volunteers and visitors. We can’t wait for next year!”

The students also led the Mini Mammoth’s story and crafts session, together with a group of students from Wilfred Owen Primary School. Together they read The Owl Babies to the weekly Mini Mammoth’s babies and toddlers and continued with a craft session afterwards to make lots of fun things including owl masks for the children to take home. The pupils said, “The story telling was amazing I want to do it again and be a story teller when I’m older. We helped the little ones to talk and sign better.”

One of the parents said that “I was at the museum today with my daughter for her weekly Mini Mammoths session, it was a ‘takeover’ day so there were many pupils from Severndale involved in our session and helping out throughout the museum, and it was fabulous! They were all a huge credit to the school!! On leaving we visited the exhibition that was put on by some of the pupils in the balcony room and were actually taken around the exhibition by one of the students, and he was brilliant! His enthusiasm and understanding was superb!! He was telling me all about the war, poppies and spitfires and showing my child the pictures close up so that she could enjoy them too and explaining the background behind the artwork etc. It was truly impressive.”

Members of the public said, “I’d like to say what a delight all the children at the museum were. They opened the doors for us into the café, and gave us leaflets and explained about the exhibition upstairs. We took advantage of this offer and went to the exhibition. All the children greeted us warmly and explained about the exhibits. Thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, thank you.”

Others helped in the shop putting leaflets and gifts out on display and also giving help and advice at the reception desk. Some were meeting and greeting the public and pointing them in the right direction of the displays they wanted to visit.

Jayne Woodhouse, Teacher at Severndale, said:

“The students had an amazingly positive experience which has raised their confidence and self-esteem. We have been able to do this by working with the staff at the museum whose belief in our children has empowered us and the children to take on this challenge. Together with our friends at Wilfred Owen, we were able to make the day the great success that it was.”

When the pupils were asked if they had a wonderful time, they said:

“It’s been a huge success, we showed them a lot of good stuff and they know we are a good school and we can have a brighter future together.”

Sonya Jones, Teaching Assistant from Wilfred Owen School, commented:

“Some children have been working in collaboration with students from Severndale on a performance and song from the wonderful story ‘Owl Babies’ by Martin Waddell. The children used singing and storytelling activities to entertain young children during a parent and baby group at the Shrewsbury Museum on Friday morning. The activities were a great success and children from both schools developed lasting friendships.”

Students and their families from Severndale also visited the exhibition at the weekend and enjoyed all the displays, thank you for supporting us.

Click here for more information about the Learning Programme at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery.

The plight of the Passenger Pigeon: How Museum collections are helping us to better understand their Story

Sat in Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, surrounded by other natural history specimens, is a small pink and grey passenger pigeon on a branch.  She is just one of many creatures in the museum’s collection that can now only been seen in books or museum showcases.  Like many museums worldwide, Shropshire Museums ensures that specimens like her survive as both a reminder of our impact upon the environment but also a vital resource for future research.

An image of a preserved pink and grey passenger pigeon sitting on a man made branch on display at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery.

Passenger Pigeon on display at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery

The passenger pigeon was once the most abundant bird in North America and possibly the world. A single flock could contain more than a billion birds. John James Audubon, awed by the spectacle of passenger pigeons in Kentucky in the fall of 1813, writing that “the light of noonday was obscured as by an eclipse; the dung fell in spots, not unlike melting flakes of snow; and the continued buzz of wings had a tendency to lull my senses to repose.” As mass shooting for sport and food reduced their numbers, museums collected examples to illustrate their plight.  Today, scientists are still trying to answer the question as to how they became extinct so quickly.

A new study of the passenger pigeon’s genome, published recently in the journal Science, outlines new research into this puzzle.  This recent investigation suggests that passenger pigeon populations were stable for thousands of years, even during periods of dramatic climate change.  Studies of small samples taken from museum specimens have found that the pigeon population, although huge, lacked genetic diversity.  The study concluded that much of the bird’s genetic code shows signs of strong natural selection, but very little evidence of ongoing small genetic changes that would help it to adapt if the ecosystem changed.

“Our mass murder of them over the course of decades was just too fast for their evolution to keep up,” said Beth Shapiro, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UC-Santa Cruz and one of the paper’s co-authors.

It is therefore no wonder that Shropshire’s Passenger Pigeon is looked down upon rather wistfully by a portrait of Charles Darwin, who first fully published the process of evolution.  Her, like many other specimens cared for by generations of museum curators, is all science have left to understand her species’ story.

Competition: Your chance to feature in LEGO: Brick History

Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery is offering three lucky people the chance to have a LEGO® model that they have built feature in next year’s exciting special exhibition, LEGO: Brick History.

Given the theme of the exhibition, model makers will need to use their imagination to build a model that represents a historical theme… from scratch!

Lego® models could represent a period in history such as the Industrial Revolution or the Jurassic Age or key historical moments like the moon landing in 1969.

An image of a banner promoting Lego: Brick History which is at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery from 9 February until 15 April 2018. The banner shows lego creations of ships, a volcano and representations of historic battles.

All models submitted as entry into the competition must be built from scratch. Any kit models will not be considered.

Participants’ models can be a maximum of 600mm x 600mm x 600mm.

There are three categories for people to enter depending on their age:

5 – 11 year olds
12 – 16 year olds

As well as having their model featured in this amazing exhibition, winners will also receive Lego® worth up to £50 and one year free entry to the Museum.

The competition is now open and entrants will have until 10pm on Friday 5 January 2018 to submit their entry.

To enter this competition and have the chance to have YOUR model featured in the LEGO: Brick History exhibition, email with the following:

  • A photo of your model
  • What historical period or history theme your model represents
  • Your name and age category your submission is for.

The competition will be judged by Lego® enthusiast and Brick History creator, Warren Elsmore. Warren said:

An image of Warren Elsmore, creator of LEGO: Brick History and judge of the 'build your own model' competition.

Warren Elsmore (image can be found

“I can’t wait to see what designs the people of Shropshire and beyond can come up with! We chose History as a topic as it gave us so many ideas to work with. The world is your oyster!”

LEGO: Brick History opens at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery on Friday 9 February 2018.

For more information about the exhibition, click here.



Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery presents a poetry reading by Jo Bell

Join Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery and fellow enthusiasts for an intriguing evening of poetry with the highly rated poet, Jo Bell on the Friday 24 November 2017.An image of Jo Bell leaning against a brick wall. Jo Bell will be at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery for a poetry reading on Friday 24 November 2017.

Jo Bell has won prestigious awards for her work including the Charles Causley Poetry Competition and the Manchester Cathedral Poetry Prize.

Jo’s work has brought in widespread acclaim from some of the biggest names in poetry today, including Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy:

“Jo Bell is one of the most exciting poets now writing and no time is wasted in the company of her work.”

The evening will also feature a reading by local author of ‘The Errant Hours’ and poet Kate Innes.

Doors open at 6pm with the poetry reading beginning at 7.30pm.

Refreshments will be available from 6pm and you will also have the chance to look around four of the amazing museum galleries prior to the poetry reading.

Following the reading there will be an opportunity to purchase Jo Bell’s work and have your copy signed.

Tickets for this event cost £7.50

If you are a season ticket holder at the Museum, a Friend of Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery or an Art Fund Member, you can purchase a ticket at the reduced rate of £4.50.

Although tickets can be purchased on arrival, spaces are limited so it is recommended that you book your place in advance to avoid possible disappointment.

This reading is part of series that will take place on the last Friday of each month at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery with a range of exciting local and national talents already lined up.

For more information about this reading or to book, please visit us at the Visitor Information Centre at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery or call 01743 258885.


Shrewsbury Depressed Cake Shop success as money raised for mental health

Shrewsbury’s Depressed Cake Shop proved to be a huge success as local cafes and bakers rose to the challenge and created delicious grey cakes to raise awareness of mental health and funds for Shropshire Mind (Reg. Charity No. 1003117).

The Depressed Cake Shop raised over £250 for local mental health charity, Shropshire Mind.

Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, in partnership with Shropshire Mind, hosted the Depressed Cake Shop on Tuesday 10 October 2017 to coincide with World Mental Health Day.

Stop. Coffee Shop, Ginger & Co, O’Joy , CSons, Café on the Cop, Toot Sweets, Lemon Box Bakery via The Old Market Hall, The Gallery Tearooms, Ana Ribeiro and local food blogger Kath at The Ordinary Cook all made special bakes for the event – with a twist. All of the goodies on sale had an element of grey to signify the grey cloud that can descend over someone who is struggling with mental health issues.

The event was also supported by local eateries Plantkind and The Good Life.

Fay Bailey of Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery said:

“Shrewsbury has a wealth of baking talent and we were blown away by the ingenuity bakers demonstrated making ‘depressed’ yet delicious grey cakes. They showed great generosity in helping us to raise over £250 for Shropshire Mind and to get people talking about mental health.”

Heather Ireland, Manager at Shropshire Mind said:

“Approximately one in four people in the UK experience a mental health problem each year. That is why we wanted to use World Mental Health Day to raise awareness of these issues here on our doorstep in Shropshire.”

The Depressed Cake Shop movement was started in London in 2013 as a unique way to raise awareness of mental health issues as well as raise money for mental health charities.

It has become an international phenomenon, with Depressed Cake Shops popping up across the world in the UK, USA, Malaysia, Australia, India – and now Shrewsbury.

The movement has raised more than £78,000 for mental health charities around the world.

The pop-up is part of a series of events aimed at welcoming new visitors to Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery.

For further information please contact

Haunted Shrewsbury: Ghost tours of medieval town set to return

Ghost tours of Shrewsbury are set to return from Thursday 12 October 2017, giving you the chance to come face-to-face with the towns’ spooky history.

Starting on 12 October, these tours will run every Thursday until 30 November and will begin at 7pm at the Visitor Information Centre and last approximately 90 minutes.

Shrewsbury is one of the most haunted towns in England, and a guided ghost walk is the ideal way to learn more about them.

Places visited on these spooky tours include Fish Street, Butcher Row, Wyle Cop, Barracks Passage, Shrewsbury Castle, Milk Street plus many more.

Did you know about the ghosts of several of Henry Tudor’s soldiers who were killed at the battle of Bosworth, that have been seen at Barrack Passage?

Learn about the matron and the nurse in the Parade shopping centre, and hear about the resident ghosts who are regularly seen in Prince Rupert hotel.  Although our guides cannot guarantee any sightings, you will be intrigued by these stories and many more.

“We had a wonderful evening with Martin telling us about the Ghosts in Shrewsbury” – Previous tour goer

“We really enjoyed it and Anthony was great and really informative. It really made our trip to Shrewsbury enjoyable” Previous tour goer

Tickets are £7.50 for adults and £2.50 for children.

These tours are always very popular, so to avoid disappointment pre-booking is essential as numbers are limited for each tour.

To book tickets, you can visit the Visitor Information Centre in person at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery, call 01743 258888 or email

The Visitor Information Centre is open Monday – Saturday from 10am – 4pm and Sunday from 11am – 3pm. From 1 November, the Visitor Information Centre will be closed on Mondays.

For more details about exhibitions and events at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery, click here.

Museums are Magic!

Shrewsbury’s Museum & Art Gallery will be hosting a Halloween weekend of mystery and magic on Saturday 28 & Sunday 29 October.An image of the Museums are Magic poster. It includes an owl, parchment and the starry sky. The event runs on 28 and 29 October 2017 at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery

Visitors to the historic town centre venue will have the chance to have their very own personalised spell written for them, make a magic wand using simple woodworking tools and create their very own magic potion. The first fantastic adventure in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (PG) will be shown on both evenings in the magical setting of the museum balcony.

In addition to the wealth of hands-on activities available, on Saturday 28 October bestselling author and illustrator Matt Sewell will be showing visitors how to create their own beautiful bird book in his Spot and Jot Owl’s Workshop.

Visitors will also be treated to a chance to see some live Owl’s courtesy of Battlefield Falconry Centre!

On Sunday 29 October magician Rob Chapman will mystify and delight with his super magic show suitable for all ages.

stop. café will be putting on a special spooky menu for children and Hot chocolate and Halloween themed treats will be available to buy throughout the film screenings.

Visitors are invited to come along in fancy dress.

For further details and to book your tickets, go to:

The weekend of activities is part of the national ‘Museums at Night’ programme.


Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th October

11- 4  The Spellwright – Our resident spell scribe will craft a personalised spell on a scroll for you to take away.

11-4 The Wand Whittler – Use simple tools to create and decorate your own magic wand with the ‘Wand Whittler’

11-4 Potion’s Class – Create your very own magic potion to take away

11 – 11.30 Spooky story time – a selection of toe-tingling stories (ages 3 – 10)

4pm – Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (PG), Warner Bros Films, 2hrs 39m. Snuggle up with a STOP Café hot-chocolate and watch the first film in the Harry Potter series in the magical setting of the museum balcony. Parental guidance recommended, places limited, book in advance, £1 per person.


Saturday 28th only

1-2 Care of Magical Creatures – A chance to meet a selection of Battlefield Falconry Centre’s beautiful Owls

2-3 Spot & Jot Owls workshopMatt Sewell. Best-selling author and artist Matt will show you how to create and draw your own beautiful bird book. Open to all ages, all children must be accompanied, no artistic skills required, everybody must draw! – booking essential, suitable for ages 6+, workshop £8 per person includes museum admission.

Sunday 29th only

1.30 – 2.30 Magic Show – magician Rob Chapman mystifies and delights with his super magic show suitable for all ages.

T: 01743 258881/258888


Or you can drop in to the Museum Visitor Information Centre.

Poetry Reading by Helen Mort at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery

Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery are delighted to invite you to join them on Friday 27 October 2017 for a unique poetry reading by the amazing Helen Mort.

An image of poet, Helen Mort. She is a lady with short red hair and is wearing red lipstick and a blue and white striped top. She is leaning against a brick wall. Helen is doing a poetry reading at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery on Friday 27 October 2017.

Helen Mort

The recent winner of the Mslexia Women’s Poetry Prize 2017 for her poem ‘Vanishing Point’, Helen has received rave reviews of her work from her peers, including current Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy.

“Helen Mort is among the brightest stars in the sparkling new constellation of young British poets” – Carol Ann Duffy

“Helen Mort’s ‘Vanishing Point’ was an immediate definite for me. As soon as I read it, I knew I’d found a winning poem; subsequent re-readings confirmed it quite quickly as the best in the competition. Something truly magical happens in this poem: there’s a vortex in the middle of it that works like a spell” – Sinead Morrissey, Mslexia Women’s Poetry Prize Judge, 2017

Doors open at 6pm the reading will begin at 7.30pm. Early arrival will give you the chance to explore the amazing museum galleries, experience Samurai: Warriors of Japan and have a drink and relax prior to the performance.

Following the performance there will also be an opportunity to purchase a copy of Helen Mort’s newest publication … and have your copy signed!

In 2013, Helen Mort was shortlisted for the T.S Eliot Prize which is awarded to the best new verse published in the UK and Ireland.

Tickets for the event cost £7.50

If you are a season ticket holder at the Museum, a Friend of Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery or an Art Fund Member, you can purchase a ticket at the reduced rate of £4.50.

Although tickets can be purchased on arrival, spaces are limited so it is recommended that you book your place in advance to avoid possible disappointment. To book your ticket, please visit us at the Visitor Information Centre at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery or call 01743 258885.

The reading by Helen Mort is the second in a series of poetry readings at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, held on the last Friday of each month. The first of which heard readings from Gillian Clarke and Liz Lefroy, which was brilliantly received.

Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery are also delighted to announce that Jo Bell will be joining them on 24 November 2017.

If you would like more information about this event, please call 01743 28885 or pop into the Visitor Information Centre.

Acton Scott Historic Working Farm win prestigious Marsh Award

Acton Scott Historic Working Farm have won the 2016 Marsh Trust Award for Volunteers in Museum Learning for the West Midlands region in recognition of the Fleece Barn project.

An image of a lady standing at a podium announcing Acton Scott Historic Working Farm as the winner of the Marsh Award 2016 for the West Midlands. There is a picture of staff from the farm on a large screen behind the lady.

Acton Scott Historic Working Farm announced as winners of the Marsh Award for the West Midlands at the ceremony in London.

The award celebrates the achievements and contribution of volunteers in museums, galleries and heritage sites across the United Kingdom and recognises their dedication, innovation and excellence in engaging with the public (British Museum, 2017).

Lezley Picton, Shropshire Council cabinet member for culture and leisure, said:

“Winning the prestigious Marsh Award for the West Midlands region is a fantastic achievement for Acton Scott Historic Working and gives fully deserved recognition of all of the hard work and dedication shown by the Fleece Barn Volunteers in driving this great project forward.”

 Sue Prestwood, volunteer on the Fleece Barn project, said:

”We were all stunned to be nominated and then to win the regional award. When we realised the standard of entries we were truly amazed. Volunteering at Acton Scott has been and continues to be both enjoyable and educational to us all. The public are so diverse in their interest and we learn as much from them as they do from us.”

An image of eight of the volunteers in the Fleece Barn at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm.

The Fleece Barn Volunteers at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm

Joanna Mackle, Deputy Director of the British Museum, said:

“Museums across the UK rely on the contribution of volunteers to ensure they reach and inspire as many people as possible. The Marsh Awards recognise the commitment and enthusiasm of volunteers in museums and we are very grateful to the Marsh Christian Trust for acknowledging this work.”

As reward for winning the Marsh Award for the West Midlands region, the Fleece Barn Volunteers received a cheque for £500 at the award ceremony in London. The money is to be reinvested into the Fleece Barn exhibition at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm.

The Marsh Trust Awards are coordinated by the British Museum and the Marsh Christian Trust and are in their ninth year.

The Acton Scott ‘Fleece Barn’ Volunteers Project

At the beginning of 2016, Acton Scott Historic Working Farm were approached by a volunteer about the use of a newly empty room on the farmyard.

An image of the inside of the Fleece Barn at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm. The brick walls are exposed with a window letting in plenty of light. There is wool spinning equipment in the barn.

Inside the Fleece Barn at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm

Members of the Shrewsbury Guild for Spinners, Weavers and Dyers suggested we turn the room into an exhibition for all things fleece related. They gave up a lot of their time to re-fit the room and have turned it into a beautiful exhibit for Acton Scott. But that’s not all, they take it in turns to volunteer in the Fleece Barn and demonstrate the use of the spinning wheels, looms etc. and provide opportunities for our visitors to ‘have a go’ at many different craft activities relating to yarn and fleece.

An image of a lady working in the Fleece Barn at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm

Fleece Barn Volunteer at work

In 2016, and again recently, the volunteers put on a special event weekend named Fleece to Fibre. A few of Acton Scott’s sheep are sheered using bicycle powered sheers, the volunteers then clean and grade the wool, card it and spin it.

At the end of the weekend there are balls of yarn to be seen that have come from our very own Shropshire Sheep. During the rest of the year these will be woven or knitted into lovely items to view and buy.

An image of lady spinning wool in a barn at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm

One of the Fleece Barn volunteers at work

The Fleece Barn team have created a beautiful and educational exhibit at Acton Scott and really help to tell the story of farming through the ages. They have become valuable members of the Acton Scott team and provide a wonderful service for visitors.

Acton Scott would like to thank the Fleece Barn Volunteers for their hard work, dedication and enthusiasm in bringing this project to fruition.

For more information about Acton Scott Historic Working Farm, click here. Alternatively, you can email or call 01694 781307.

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The Fleece Barn Volunteers
Ann Lloyd
Sue Prestwood
Margaret Tremellen
Jean Huff
Caroline Oaks
Joan Bellamy

An image of the Fleece Barn volunteers who consist of six ladies, Acton Scott facility manager Sarah Green and two men.