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

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

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


Save up to 50% on Museum visits with our Family Ticket

Families can now save up to 50% on visits to Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery following the introduction of the new Family Ticket.

Available to purchase until Sunday 7 May, the family tickImage showing the Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery Family Ticket which is red with images of a child looking at a milkshake and showing five available visits to the covers admission for 2 adults and up to 4 children (5-17) and costs just £25.

Once bought, the ticket is valid until 31 December 2017  meaning youand your family can enjoy up to 5 exhilarating and fun-filled visits to Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery and take in our amazing Roman and Medieval Galleries, the incredible Shropshire Gallery and our exciting special exhibitions.

If that’s not enough, you can claim one FREE milkshake per child on one of your 5 visits from STOP cafe.

If you’re looking for a fun and affordable day out for your family, our Family Ticket could be the perfect fit.

Read what other families have said about the Museum…

“Staff very friendly and An image of three children dressed in medieval combat clothing.engaged children, a 2 year old and 6 year old. They were allowed to handle some time exhibits and we’re read a story with relevant props. There were quiz sheets to complete to encourage them to look at pictures etc. and stickers for completing them. Will go again.”


“Lots to see here over several floors, some superb exhibits and loads of information – paintings, ceramics, antiques, Roman artefacts and a special gallery, a sea side theme at the time of writing – great value”

“Enjoyable experience with friends and baby. A good mix of exhibits and the children especially enjoyed the practical areas.”

New exhibition a hit: Nearly 1,000 school children booked to visit Rhyme Around the World

Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery’s new exhibition, Rhyme Around the World, a touring exhibition from Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books is already proving to be a huge success.

The exhibition, which opened its doors to the public on Saturday 18 February has already been hugely popular with families, schools and nurseries alike.

Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery already has 972 school children booked to visit and take part in the newly developed Rhyme workshop with more expected to book.

Image showing a blue archway into Rhyme Around the World exhibition with images of a fox with an umbrella, a lion leaping with two happy children and an antelope on its back and photos on the walls.

Rhyme Around the World – Entrance to a world of rhyming fun for the whole family

Fay Bailey, Education and Activities Officer at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery, said:

“Rhyme Around the World is a fun and engaging exhibition suitable for the whole family.  We are particularly delighted with the way Shropshire schools have received this wonderful exhibition”

“The exhibition is proving to be very popular and spaces are quickly filling up. I would encourage interested schools to book as soon as possible.”

An image showing an area with blue lighting, a mini barn with a robin inside, photos on the wall and nursery rhymes on the wall and in the clouds on the ceiling.

Whatever the Weather theme in Rhyme Around the World











Stuart West, Shropshire Council Cabinet member for leisure and culture, said:

“We’re thrilled at how popular this new exhibition is proving to be among schools and we’ve already received a lot of great feedback.

“Rhyme Around the World is a fantastic and engaging exhibition for people of all ages and brings back a lot of happy childhood memories so I’d encourage you to pay Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery a visit.”

Save up to 50% on Museum visits with new Family Ticket

To celebrate Rhyme Around the World, Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery are offering a new Family Ticket which could save you and your family up to 50% on Museum admission. Visit the website for more information.

Rhyme Around the World runs until Sunday 7 May 2017. For more information, visit the Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery website or call 01743 258888. To book a Rhyme workshop and educational group visit to the exhibition, email or ring 01743 258881

The Beat of the Butterflies’ Wings

Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery invite all ages to be involved in an interactive art and reminiscence exhibition, The Beat of the Butterflies’ Wings,

22nd November 2016– 22nd January 2017

BBW pic

The Beat of the Butterflies’ Wings has been devised by Artist Jill Impey, and support funded by Arts Council England. It has so far involved over 150 participants aged from10-90 years and will continue to develop through performances, talks, workshops and the addition of butterflies to Jill’s Empire Chandelier installation, Prism.


The Project considers the 100 years of British involvement in conflict since the First World War: the war to end all wars. It has progressed through a series of 12 initial workshops in Shrewsbury venues including The Redwoods Centre, Coleham School and Participate Contemporary Artspace. Participants aged 10 to 20 years and 65+, have interacted with a 1930’s themed Cabinet of Curiosity, investigating contemporary art works and memorabilia, through performance, drawing, and making origami peace  butterflies. Subsequently, Jill, recorded their stories and expressions of hope for peaceful resolutions to conflict. This sound work, Words about War, Words about Peace now forms part of the exhibition at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery.


A further 5 exhibition workshops took place, with artists: Keith Ashford, Jacqui Dodds, Julie Edwards, Eliza Glapinska, and Jill Impey, bringing together a mix of older and younger participants.  They selected objects for the community exhibition cases in Shrewsbury, from the Museum Archive at Ludlow. The group developed printmaking skills to illustrate themes relating to war and peace, explored ideas through text and the juxtaposition of objects. Participants also  provided personal heritage items to add resonance to the display, which has been described as very moving by visitors to the Museum.


If you/your organisation would like to visit the exhibition and take part in workshops/talks contact: or visit


Supporting Organisations: Age UK; Arts for Health, South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare, The Redwoods Centre; Coleham Primary School; Participate Contemporary Artspace CIC; Shrewsbury College; Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery; Ludlow Museum Archive; Shropshire Council.


Heavenly Lights Evening Projection

MR projection image
In response to the Heavenly Lights exhibition which celebrates the life and works of Margaret Rope, Andy McKeown will be projecting his Exquisite Fragments images of Margaret Rope’s stained-glass windows onto the front The Music Hall for the second time on Wednesday 21st of December from 4:30pm.  The museum will be staying open until 7:30pm with last entry to the museum at 6:30pm.  Viewing of the projection will be free. However, there will be normal adminsion for charges if you wish to visit the museum.

Poems in the Exhibition

Inspired by the vivid imagination of stained glass artist, Margaret Rope, a local writer – Kate Innes – is creating poems based on the windows, artworks and ephemera in the exhibition.


She says:

“The presence of birds, beasts, legends, flowers and the affectionate details of daily life in Margaret Rope’s work, executed with a perfect balance of form and colour, spoke to me. I knew there were many stories just under the surface of the glass, ready to be written.”


Poems will be added from time to time. These verses offer another way in to the exhibition. Just as the light made by stained glass inside a church can be seen from different perspectives and in a variable weathers, so the interpretation and appreciation of Margaret Agnes Rope and her work is open to all.


Kate Innes trained in Archaeology, Education and Museology before turning to writing full-time. Her novel, The Errant Hours, is set in the Welsh Marches in the thirteenth century.


Heavenly Lights – The Margaret Rope Exhibition is open until the 15th January, 2017.


Saint Winifrede Newport

Art Cafe



The next Arts Café is on Wednesday 14th December, 6.00pm to 8.00pm at the Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery. 

The event will include:

Artist Talk by Nathalie Hildegarde, a stained glass artist who has exhibited nationally and internationally. Nathalie has been successful in securing funding from the Arts Council to make a stained glass window for the Museum. To view her work, please go to:

Opportunity to look around the ‘Heavenly Lights: The Untold Story of Stained Glass Artist Margaret Agnes Rope’ exhibition and networking.

£3.00 per person, to include refreshments and free access to the exhibition and parts of the museum.

To book a place, please contact Megan Claydon, email:

Giant stained glass images to be projected on to Museum & Art Gallery

Giant images of stained glass works by Shrewsbury-born artist Margaret Rope will be projected onto the front of the town’s Museum & Art Gallery on the evening of Tuesday 25 October between 7pm and 9pm.

The projection will be the work of international light artist Andy McKeown and is a celebration of the exhibition ‘Heavenly Lights – the untold story of Shrewsbury stained glass artist Margaret Agnes Rope’, which runs at the Museum until 15 January.

On the evening of 25 October the Museum will open late, until 9pm, and there will also be drop-in stained-glass inspired workshops for children with community artist Jamila Walker – offering the chance to make jam-jar lanterns and coloured designs out of straws. The workshops run from 5pm to 9pm and are included within the Museum’s usual admission fee. Parents are invited too.

The workshops will also run on Wednesday 26 October between 10am and 2pm.

Andy McKeown said:

“I have a longstanding passion for stained glass in all its forms and it has featured in a great many of my building illuminations. It is a delight to be able to illuminate Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery with fragments and panels from this wonderful exhibition.”

Jamila Walker said:

“The workshops will be accessible, colourful and fun, giving children and their parents the opportunity to create bold simple pieces as well as intricate sculptures and lanterns, all inspired by the vibrant works of Margaret Rope.”

For more information about the celebration event visit

For more information about Jamila Walker, visit

“Heavenly Lights – The untold story of Shrewsbury stained glass artist Margaret Agnes Rope” is open at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery until 15 January 2017 but closed on Mondays from October (not including Monday 24 October, which is half-term week).

About Margaret Agnes Rope

Margaret Agnes Rope, born in 1882, produced stained-glass that can be found in churches and cathedrals on three continents, and which is now also collected by American museums – but she is now largely forgotten here in the UK, and even in her home town of Shrewsbury.

Shrewsbury Cathedral window detail med

Margaret Rope’s stained glass window at Shrewsbury Cathedral.

Examples of Margaret Rope’s work can be seen in Shrewsbury (at the town’s Cathedral and at St Mary’s Church) and in churches across the UK, from Suffolk to South Wales to Scotland. Her stained glass windows can also be seen at churches in Australia, South Africa and Rome – and in museums in Los Angeles and New York.

‘Marga’, as she was called, was an instinctive rebel – known for smoking cheroot cigars, riding a motorbike and wearing her hair short – in an era when women had few opportunities to express themselves artistically. Without backing from a patron, rich family or husband, she made her own way in her career, one of a new generation of artists as much at home in a workshop as in a drawing-studio.

Her work – influenced by the ‘Later Arts & Crafts’ style – soon became well-known for its jewelled dazzling colours, its personal stamp, its startling modernism, and its sense of spiritual vibrancy.

Yet, within barely a decade of her first success, she chose to become a Catholic nun, moving into an ‘enclosed’ convent. However, even now, shut away from the world, she continued to work, in a small studio provided by the other nuns.