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The online catalogue does not include details of all our collections. Contact us for further information on collections not yet featured online.

Meet Felicity

Hello everyone. Have you seen Ozzy fly by? He asked me to hop over to meet some of his friends – he must mean you. I’m Felicity Frog and it’s a pleasure to meet you. I belong to a large family of frogs. They live in Russia now but I stayed here to tell our museum visitors about Josiah Wedgwood. He is the man who made me. The Wedgwood family have been making pottery since 1759. They are very famous potters so you might have heard of them. Josiah didn’t just make plates like mine – at the museum, you will discover pots of all different shapes and sizes. My favourite is his teapot shaped like a cauliflower. It is a most unusual teapot and is beautifully green – just like me.

I think I can hear the flap of Ozzy’s wings. He must be on his way. When you watch our film, see if you can flap like Ozzy or hop like me. It’s so much fun. Time to hop off – bye for now!

Why not try your hand at colouring me in?

If you haven’t already seen Ozzy and friends in action, check them out below!

Vlog: Meet Miranda Goodby, Ceramics Curator

What is your name and job title?

I’m Miranda Goodby and I am the Senior Curator of Ceramics.

What is in the Ceramics Collection and What do you do as a Curator?

Here at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery the Ceramics Collection includes pottery and porcelain from around the world, and it ranges in age from Ancient Egypt through to the present day.

In many museums, ceramics from Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome would be included in archaeology or ethnography collections because of their age or country of origin, but here they are included in the Ceramic collection because of their material – clay. 

We also have ceramics from the Near & Far East, as well as from Europe, but great majority of our pieces are from England, especially Staffordshire. We have the largest collection of Staffordshire ceramics in the world – approximately 30,000 pieces–and that doesn’t include all the thousands of sherds of excavated pottery from Stoke-on-Trent that are cared for in the Archaeology collection.

There are several reasons that this museum has such an amazing collection of pottery. Firstly, we are based in Stoke-on-Trent, the home of the British pottery industry for over 300 years. Secondly, there have been museums in Stoke-on-Trent collecting pottery for nearly 200 years. You can do a lot of collecting in that time!

Many of the Victorian pottery manufacturers were also collectors of pottery. People such as Thomas Twyford, who owned the largest sanitary ware factory in the world, bequeathed his collection to what was then called Hanley Museum. Thomas Hulme, who is a less well-known manufacturer but who was responsible for the founding of the Wedgwood Memorial Institute, donated his collection during his lifetime. The Minton family of Stoke-upon-Trent gave examples of their “modern” productions – which are now over 150 years old – and so on. And of course, we have been given many, many other gifts and bequests over the years, including the Keiller family’s famous cow cream jug collection.

We continue to collect as well. The Museum has a Collecting Policy to help guide us in what to acquire, and we collect contemporary ceramics as well as historic pieces. After all, those ‘contemporary’ pieces will be historic themselves one day.

As a Curator my job is to care for the collections and to make them accessible for the public. This can be through exhibitions and displays here at PMAG, but we also lend piece to other museums in the UK – and around the world – for special exhibitions. And through social and traditional media we also make them accessible for an even wider audience

Our collections are also used for research. Researchers, writers, artists and students all use the collections for inspiration and education. An important part of my job therefore is to make sure that the information that we have about our pieces is correct and up-to-date, and that all the pieces not currently on display are carefully stored by type, date or manufacturer so that they can easily be located when needed.

How long have you worked at the museum?

I have been Ceramics Curator here at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery for nearly 25 years now!

What’s your favourite thing about working here?

It’s got to be the collection. With over 35,000 pieces in total to look after there is always something new to learn about them. The marvellous thing about working here in Stoke-on-Trent is that you are immersed in the subject. Not only do we have the pottery here, the pieces that people made and decorated, and that other people bought and used, but we also have information about how those things were made.

The archaeology of Stoke-on-Trent is the archaeology of the pottery industry and is primary evidence for how they were made, the technology that was used – and the things that went wrong in making pottery 1, 2, and 3 hundred years ago.

We also have masses of documentary and photographic evidence for the pottery industry, with factory records, pattern books, trade catalogues etc.  When you put all those together you can get a real sense of the importance of the pottery industry in Stoke-on-Trent. It wasn’t just about pretty pots, it was about technological innovation, design, marketing, social and economic change, people lives and livelihoods – and pretty pots.

Now for some questions that have been sent in via Facebook.

Carl wants to know which piece of ceramics in the collection needed the most restoration.

Well, we don’t have any conservators or restorers here at the museum and so we try to not accept pottery that is going to need extensive restoration work as it can be quite expensive to have a lot of restoration work done – and over time the work tends to discolour and then has to be redone. We do however, have a number of pieces in the collection that came to us already restored. And a 17th century slipware dish that was given to us in 1944, is probably the most heavily restored piece that we have. It depicts a man smoking a pipe, has the name Thomas Toft on the rim and the inscription ‘Smoke your nose’. It was badly broken and restored before it was given to the museum and the restoration is so extensive that we can’t be sure which elements of the design are original and which are not.

Pat wants to know if we have any Beswick on display as she hasn’t spotted any when visiting.

Yes, we do have some Beswick on display at present – this cruet set with circus horses in the 1950s case and we have more pieces that aren’t currently on show, including some of the animal figures that Beswick is famous for. Although we have over 5,000 pieces on display in the main ceramics gallery we don’t have space to show everything that we have. So our temporary exhibitions are an opportunity for us to bring out pieces that aren’t usually on show.

And finally, Gary want to know what is my favourite museum object

It impossible to say. I’m afraid it changes depending on what I’m working on at the time. I do have some favourites though. The rolled clay figures made in the 1930s by William Ruscoe are incredibly engaging and charming because of their simplicity. The Green Tea teapot, made at William Greatbatch’s factory in the 1770s, is a favourite because we not only have the excavated material from his site, but because whoever did the inscription was almost certainly illiterate – each ‘e’ in ‘Green Tea’ is drawn differently: you would never do that it you could write, And the many tools that we have for making and shaping pottery. Throwers’ and plate makers’ tools are often inscribed with the name and date of their owner, and that is often the only record of their working lives that they have left. When you hold them in your hand you can’t help but wonder who they worked for, what their lives were like and if we have any of their pots here at the museum.

Staffordshire Hoard…Cushions!

We were delighted to see these Staffordshire Hoard inspired cushions created by pupils at St. Luke’s CE School, Silverdale.

The children looked for information in ‘The Story of the Dig, Staffordshire Hoard on Tour’ They also looked at some beautiful images of the Staffordshire Hoard. 

The children selected a sentence to reproduce on to their work and copied this on to paper first so that the text could be correctly positioned on to the fabric. The children drew the image directly on to the fabric using a whiteboard pen. They coloured the image using gold, silver, red, yellow, pink and black fabric crayons. They learned to put one colour over another blending and mixing the colours for a more realistic effect. Finally, the children painted their design with tea stain to create the effect of being 1300 years old! 

The children’s art teacher sewed and stuffed the cushions which are currently displayed in the entrance of St Luke’s CE School, Silverdale. We are excited about our art work being included in the Online Community Galleries.

Behind the Scenes – Recycling props

Here in the exhibitions team, we’re a whizz at recycling things. Obviously, we use the museum showcases and plinths frequently but did you know we’re good at recycling lots of other props that we make in-house too, and nothing goes to waste.

Let’s take a trip back in time to re-visit a few of our past summer exhibitions –

It was in 2009 in our Magnificent Minibeast Safari exhibition when we first designed and constructed 4 huge grass columns to immerse our visitors in to the world of a minibeast…

Magnificent Minibeast Safari, 2009

In 2011, our Award-winning Once upon a Time exhibition saw the columns transformed in to 4 giant turrets – 2 for Sleeping Beauty’s castle, and 2 for Cinderella’s Castle…

Fast forward to 2014 and when it was time for our Beside the Seaside summer exhibition all that was needed was a lick of yellow paint for them to become huge sandcastle turrets…

Beside the Seaside, 2014

In 2016 they re-appeared as large building blocks for our colourful Animal Alphabet exhibition…

Animal Alphabet, 2016

And in 2017 the photo below shows them during construction being transformed by our talented Technical Support Officer, Andy, into a wonderful Chinese pagoda to set the scene for the Willow pattern story for our Mini Museum exhibition.

Mini Museum, 2017

Those of you who are old enough, may be able to recognise the bridge in the background… all this needed a new front to transform it from the Grand old Duke of York’s hill in our 2008 Nursery Rhymes exhibition (below) to the Willow pattern bridge (above).

Nursery Rhymes, 2008

There are lots of other things that we also recycle, and this is only a snapshot of some of the amazing summer family exhibitions that we put on here at The Potteries Museum.

How many of our Summer exhibitions can you remember and which one was your favourite?

And, in case you’re wondering when the columns will next make an appearance, you won’t have to wait long, as this summer they’re going to form the structure for the rose garden in Alice’s Adventures in a Museum Wonderland.

Their transformation journey continues…

Helen Cann,
Design Services Officer
The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery

Vlog: Meet Joe Perry, Local History Curator

Hello, welcome to the second of our Meet the Team video series where we quiz a member of the team and find out a bit more about their job and what makes the museum tick.

What is your name and job title?

My name is Joe Perry and I’m the Curator of Local History at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery

What are Local History Collections and What do you do as a Curator?

So, our Local History collection comprises of archaeology and social history. So the archaeology collections are mainly the result of archaeological excavations but also chance finds and metal detected finds. We work very closely with the Portable Antiquities Scheme to acquire various items of treasure, such as the Staffordshire Hoard and Leekfrith Torcs.

The social history side of our collection, erm, really looks at the domestic and working lives of people in The Potteries, particularly from the nineteenth century onwards though we do have one or two objects that are a little bit older.

As a curator my job really is to look after our collections, is to help develop and grow them, and it’s also to help give people access to those collections. So you know, exhibitions, research requests, getting things online, using social media and doing things like this really. Anything to bring our collections out and connect them with the people who are interested in them, or that want to use them in some way, or anyone for whom, you know, interaction with our collections can enrich their lives in some way.

How long have you worked at the museum?

I’ve been in my current role since August 2018. But I’ve been working for Stoke-on-Trent museums, on and off, for just under ten years.

What’s your favourite thing about working here?

For me, the best part of my job is being so close to so many incredible objects and getting the chance to share those objects and their stories with a really, really diverse audience. And the other thing I really enjoy about my job is the diversity of the collections. I look after everything from hand axes which are two hundred, maybe even three hundred thousand years old, through to items which were made only a few years ago. So it’s a huge range in there, very, very challenging and of course you can’t know it all it’s such a huge erm array of time periods that you know I’m learning everyday and that’s something I really enjoy as well.

What’s your favourite museum object?

Oooh that’s erm, that’s always a really difficult question to answer and I don’t want to sound like a cop out but I honestly don’t have a err individual favourite object. I do have quite a soft spot for a broken Bronze Age sword in our archaeology gallery, with a really interesting story. Erm, so you could check out our blog to find out more about that.

And now for some questions from you guys that you sent through on social media

Joanne on Facebook asks, “Have we learnt anything from the Staffordshire Hoard that we didn’t know previously about the Anglo-Saxons? Does it have any unique features?”

The Staffordshire Hoard has two unique features. Its size, it is the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver ever discovered, and also its character. It is unique in that it is almost entirely comprised of precious fittings from war gear, erm so, sword pommels and other fittings from sword hilts, pieces of at least one really, really high status helmet and this is very, very unusual to find a hoard of just that character, buried together in the ground and nothing like it has ever been found, it clearly has a very, very unique, special story behind it. Unfortunately we don’t know what that story is.

In terms of learning new things, obviously I think we learnt a lot about how the Anglo-Saxons are making some of these incredibly detailed objects. What’s great about the Hoard is that it’s damaged. It’s been very violently taken apart, you know, in how some of these of objects have been dismantled and so we can actually see how some of these nice gold pommel caps are made and we know maybe a little more about the manufacture than we did before and things like the projects to build replica helmets have been a really interesting bit of experimental archaeology to try and relearn some of the skills of those Anglo-Saxon smiths and craftspeople.

Tina asks, “What words did Anglo-Saxons use which have now died out?”

That’s a really interesting question, it’s not an area I have a great deal of expertise in, but there is one Old English word that I do really like, it’s a really fun word to say, and that is FRUMBYRDLING. Frumbyrdling means a young boy who’s growing his first beard.

Garry asks, “Will you be able to look into the cockpit of the Spitfire?”

The short answer Garry is yes, you will. We’re going to build a mezzanine level inside the new Spitfire Gallery, so either by going up there via the steps or the lift, you then look down into the cockpit of the Spitfire which will be kitted out fully, either with real or replica parts for the first time ever since it was donated to the City in 1972.

Charlotte asks, “How big is the Spitfire and how does this compare to modern planes?”

So I think in general fighter planes have grown a little bit, so to give you an example of that, Spitfires are just over nine metres long and typically just over eleven metres in terms of their wingspan. Our Spitfire has got a slightly shorter wingspan because it has clipped wings which is quite common for some late-war Spitfires. So our wingspan for our Spitfire is about more like just under ten metres. And similarly with the height, so on a Spitfire when it’s on the floor, the end of the propeller is the highest point and depending on the size of the propeller , depending on what type of Spitfire it is, it’s between three and three-and-a-half metres tall.

If you compare that to modern RAF Typhoons they have a wingspan of about eleven metres but a length of sixteen, and I think they’re over five metres high, so I think fighter planes have grown a little bit since the Second World War.

Julie asks, “When the Spitfire returns, will there be information on other planes designed by Reginald Mitchell in the gallery?”

Yes there will Julie, so for anyone who’s watching and doesn’t know, between 1920 and 1936, Mitchell designed no less than 24 aircraft, so it wasn’t just all about the Spitfire, and in fact in his lifetime, because he died early, aged only 42 in 1937, in his lifetime Mitchell was really known his designs of racing seaplanes which were very, very successful.

Now, our collections don’t have a lot of objects to do with Mitchell’s earlier, earlier parts of his career so we’re thinking of all kinds of interesting ways we can use animations and interactives to try and bring that story to life.

Pheasantsagenda asks, “What’s the most locally and culturally significant piece in the collections you manage?”

Erm, that’s a difficult question to answer. I guess it could be very, very subjective, though I would say, if you’re thinking specifically about local significance in The Potteries, erm I’d have to suggest something like the thousands and thousands of archaeological ceramics we have the collection. The sherds of pottery excavated from factory sites and waste tips. These are all really, really key sites which have helped us understand the development of the Staffordshire Potteries from what was a cottage industry to a world centre for ceramics.

So that’s it for our second Meet the Team video. I hope that’s been interesting. If you have any further questions or comments on what we’ve discussed in this video or other parts of the collections, do get in touch in the comments section or through other social media channels, I’d be happy to answer your questions and I look forward to our next video where we’ll be interviewing our Curator of Ceramics, Miranda Goodby.

Behind the Scenes: Curiouser and Curiouser

Hello,

My name is Helen and I’m the Design Services Officer here at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery. I’ve worked here for 23 years and my role is to design the look, colour scheme and graphics of the exhibitions and displays we put on at the museum.

The Museum may be closed at the moment but that doesn’t stop us from working from home to bring you new exhibitions once we’re open again.

I’m writing this to tell you about our next exciting summer family exhibition myself and colleagues are currently putting together for you.

The exhibition is called Curiouser and Curiouser, Alice’s Adventures in a Museum Wonderland. This exhibition coincides with the 200th Anniversary of the birth of the Illustrator Sir John Tenniel, who is especially known for his illustrations to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the children’s book by Lewis Carroll.

In this exhibition, we are using a combination of museum objects combined with John Tenniel’s black and white illustrations to tell the story of Alice.

We start with selecting objects from across all of the collections that will help tell the story. It is then my job to bring the objects together with extra props, sounds and activities for you to do in a layout which brings the story to life, and makes the exhibition engaging and learning about the objects fun. In the promotional graphic I’ve designed below, to name a few, you can see John Tenniel’s illustration of the Mad Hatter wearing one of the hats from our decorative Arts collection, Alice peering behind a curtain to see one of our CW Brown prints from the Art collection, plus the herald and mouse in a teapot from our Ceramics collection.

If you haven’t read the story of Alice in Wonderland – it tells of a young girl named Alice who falls asleep sitting on a river bank and has the most curious dream, which starts by her following a white rabbit. Following the rabbit she manages to fall down a rabbit hole and has some amazing adventures there meeting many strange characters like a caterpillar smoking a pipe, and a vanishing Cheshire cat. She drinks and eats several things which make her change size unexpectedly going from very small to very large. She takes part in a caucus race judged by a dodo, meets a Duchess, with a baby that becomes a pig, then she attends a tea party with the Mad Hatter. She opens a little door with a gold key and goes through it to find herself in a beautiful garden where gardeners are painting the roses red and the queen of hearts is playing croquet with flamingos for mallets and hedgehogs for croquet balls. Alice is then called as a witness in the trial of the Knave of Hearts, who is accused of having stolen the Queen’s tarts. Finally she awakens from her dream and is once again on the river bank with her sister.

Here’s a sneak preview of the plan and some of the layouts I’m working on….

We have lots of things in store for you with this exhibition. As well as items from the collections we have a large white rabbit, mushroom and caterpillar, and a tiny door to open, all made by another member of the exhibitions team. You’ll be able to see the animals in our collections taking part in a caucus race and the trial of the Knave of Hearts and sit round the mad hatters table. Plus, there’ll be a croquet lawn for you to play croquet on, just like the queen of Hearts did in the story, and lots of dressing up and some colouring in.

In the exhibition we’ll be asking you to colour in some white roses to help the gardeners change the colour of them to red, so they don’t get in trouble with the Queen. If you would like to colour in one of the roses now and bring it in to add to our rose wall when the exhibition is open please print out a template, colour it in and with the help of an adult, cut it out ready to stick on our wall.

The exhibition was planned to be opening on 16 May but due to the current situation the start date is likely to change so we’ll keep you posted. While you’re waiting for the exhibition to open, why don’t you read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

Helen Cann, Design Services Officer, The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery

Vlog: Meet Glenn Roadley, Natural Science Curator

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first in what will hopefully be a series of videos from behind the scenes at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent. Each week we’ll quizzing a different member of our team to find out just what makes the museum tick. In this first episode I’ll be interviewing – myself.

What is your name and job title?

My name is Glenn Roadley, and I’m Curator of Natural Science at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery.

What are Natural Science Collections and What do you do as a Curator?

My role in a nutshell is to care for and provide access to the approximately 150,000 specimens in our Natural Science Collections – that’s the plants, rocks, dead animals. Natural Science Collections are an incredible resource. They give people the chance to get up close to nature and to see the diverse range of wildlife that can be found on their doorstep. I hope that they encourage our visitors get outside and appreciate and protect nature.

The collections themselves are used for display, education, inspiration and science. Each specimen comes with information about when and where it was collected. When data from historical collections are combined with modern surveys and collections we can see how a species distribution might have changed over time. This could be compared with factors such climate change or habitat loss to see how wildlife has been affected and better inform future environmental decisions.

And of course, physical specimens can also be used in science requiring the study of anatomy or DNA.

So, whilst some people may find the collecting of dead animals to be a bit macabre, they’re actually vital in protecting the animals which are still alive.

My job involves ensuring that each specimen in our collection is recorded in our digital catalogue, that they are organised and stored in a way that allows them to be easily found. I monitor their condition and make sure they are safe pest damage or unsuitable climate conditions (such as unstable temperature or humidity). I plan and contribute to our programme of exhibitions and displays, attend educational outreach events, manage collection donations and loans.

I also have a couple of ‘extra-curricular’ roles – I sit as Staff Representative for the Friends of The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, an independent charity which supports the museum, and I sit on the committee of the Natural Sciences Collections Association, a charity which supports natural history collections and the people who work with them.

How long have you worked at the museum?

I’ve worked at PMAG since September 2016. Before that I was a Natural Science Collections Assistant in Sheffield.

What’s your favourite thing about working here?

The variety – I can be cataloguing vials of spiders one day and teaching a bunch of kids about monitor lizards the next. As a Curator of such a broad collection no two days are the same.

What’s your favourite museum object?

I’d probably have to go with our fossil fish head. We think this is a fish called Rhabdoderma – we know it was rescued by a member of the public when it was thrown out from a museum in Burton-on-Trent in the 1950s, and donated to us in 2016, but other than that we have no information of where it came from. There is tragically a nice rectangular mark where an information label used to be. It’s probably a local specimen due to the species and rock type – it’s from coal measures like those on which Stoke-on-Trent is built, between 300 and 360 million years old. Fossils are often squashed due to pressure over millions of years, but this specimen retains an amazing 3D preservation. It’s not currently on display but I hope to change that soon.

And now we have some questions from our social media channels…

How many different species of animals, birds, fish and insects are stored in the museum?

No idea – we’re still counting! Of our 150,000 objects, about 81,000 are individually registered on our database. About 55,000 of those are animals. The rest are plants, fungi, rocks, minerals and fossils. At the moment there’s no easy way to get a species count out of our database, it would take a few hours wrangling with the data. Sorry! It’s definitely going to be in the 10s of thousands.

Is your focus entirely local (flora, fauna, geology)? If so, does this create tension with a demand to see more ‘exotic’ items e.g. dinosaurs?

Yeah, they say ‘nature knows no boundaries’, but our Collections Development Policy does. We don’t have unlimited space so have to be choosy when collecting. Our biological collections are mostly focused on Staffordshire, with much of the geology covering the West Midlands to provide a wider context. We are regularly asked why we don’t have any dinosaurs – as you might know, the rocks under Stoke-on-Trent are too old for dinosaurs so we don’t find any around here. We do have some exotic specimens in our Discovery Zone part of the Natural Science Gallery to help put our local specimens into context within the greater tree of life, such as our fruit bat skeleton, and we’ve worked with local artists to produce a dinosaur sculpture from recycled materials. While not a real skeleton, I still think it’s pretty cool!

I’m keen to hear a bit about the stuffed animals and how old some of them are (convinced that squirrel 🐿 has been on display since I was a kid… )

So we have about 5000 taxidermy mounts (stuffed animals) in our collection, mostly birds and mammals. They’re made by skinning the animal and positioning the skin around a model. It’s difficult to do well and not something we do in house at the museum. It requires a lot of specialist knowledge, knowledge of anatomy and artistic skill. The oldest specimens are from the mid-1800s. They were part of the North Staffordshire Field Club Collection when their specimens because the basis of the Natural History Collection at the Hanley Museum & Art Gallery which opened on Pall Mall in 1908.

We’re often asked why we killed all the animals – but we don’t kill animals for display. All of our modern taxidermy is ethically sourced. People donate animals that have died of natural causes or have been a victim of things like a car collision or a cat.

The squirrel – I presume you mean the one sitting in the tree hollow on open touchable display? Yeah, that’s definitely seen better days. That one was acquired by the museum in 2002 and has been on display since 2008. It’s looking well-loved now so we have commissioned a fresh specimen and swapping them around is on the to-do list!

How are fossils made?

Fossils are the remains of plants or animals that have been basically turned to stone over millions of years, preserving the shape of the original. It works best if the newly dead-soon to be fossil falls to the bottom of some water. The rocks around Stoke-on-Trent are about 300 million years old, and around that time The Potteries were under tropical shallow seas and swamp forests. All this shallow water provided the perfect environment for fossils to form – as the dead things fell to the bottom, they got covered up with mud and sediment over millions of years. The mud compacts and turns into rock, and the organism underneath begins to rot and dissolve away. As it does, the spaces left behind get filled in by minerals in the water, creating a rock in the shape of the dead plant or animal. By the time this happens, most of an animal will have rotted away, which is why we usually only find fossils of hard things, like bones, teeth and scales.

I’d recommend you have a look online for more info because there’s probably some great diagrams and videos out there that explain it better than I can!

What’s the strangest thing in the collection?

Probably our mummified cats… we have two of them. They’re pretty modern, and were found in building roof spaces. Due to the dry conditions of where they died, they just naturally dried out and now have this weird hairless shrinkwrapped look to them. One is on display in the Discovery Zone of the Natural Science Gallery.

And with that I’m going to wrap up! Thanks so much for watching – be sure to let us know what you’d like to hear us ramble about in any future episodes, just pop something in the comments below.

You can keep up with what’s going on at the museum by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

How to Explore the Museum from Home

It’s strange times we’re living in, and many of us are joining the working-from-home club or entering periods of social isolation. While our museum doors may be temporarily closed to the public, we’re fortunate enough that the wonders of the internet has made keeping everyone in touch easier than ever, and we’ll be using our social media channels to ensure that you’ll still have access to our amazing stories and objects from the comfort of your own home.

Even while the museum is open, only a tiny proportion of our approximately 750,000 objects can be on display at any one time so many of our treasures aren’t available to view. That’s why our curators are always working hard to make our collections accessible through other means, and we’ll be producing more online content than ever before over the next few weeks. Did you know that you can already explore thousands of our objects, and even browse the galleries themselves, from the comfort of your own device?

In July 2017, the galleries of The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery were captured by the Google StreetView Team. So you can stroll through the museum on your own private viewing – check it out on our website: www.pmag.org.uk/virtual-gallery-tour/

You can also browse image galleries of our Temporary Exhibitions from throughout the museum’s history – we’ll be continuing to add more over time, so be sure to check back often.

Our website also hosts our collections online. Thousands of our museum treasures can be viewed as part of our Online Collections, and we’ll be working hard to add more in the coming weeks. You can even add your own descriptive tags to help other users find things they may be interested in, or leave a comment for our curators.

Another resource is Exploring the Potteries, which allows you to search resources from across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire County Council by exploring local maps. Find out about pottery, maps and photographs from near where you live!

Our Fine Art collection can be browsed through a partnership with ArtUK and ancient treasure held at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery and other archaeological institutions can be browsed via the Portable Antiquities Scheme at https://finds.org.uk/. Our Peak District archaeology collections can also be browsed at Wonders of the Peak, hosted by Derbyshire County Council.

And of course, you can keep up to date with the work we’re doing behind the scenes and current projects, such as the restoration of the City’s Spitfire, on our museum blog.

So be sure to follow our Facebook and Twitter feeds to keep up to date with our work as we strive to make more and more of our collections accessible online.

Museum Closed until Further Notice

Following national guidance, The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery is temporarily closed from 5pm on Wednesday 18 March until further notice. All upcoming events have also been postponed or cancelled.

Our absolute priority is the health and welfare of our visitors, staff and the wider public as the nation deals with the impact of the coronavirus.

If you have paid-for tickets to an upcoming event, please get in touch with the museum directly. We will also post updated information on our website and social media channels.

While our doors will be temporarily closed, there is a range of digital information that will still be available online. Over 20,000 of our museum treasures can be viewed as part of our Online Collections, and we’ll be working hard to add more in the coming weeks. You can explore the local history of the Potteries through Exploring the Potteries and our Fine Art collection through ArtUK. You can keep up to date with the work we’re doing behind the scenes and current projects, such as the restoration of the City’s Spitfire, on our museum blog.

Our talented teams are also working hard to find alternative ways to provide amazing local history content during these challenging times. Please see the homepage of the website for more information in the coming days and keep in touch with us via our social media channels, which already feature many fascinating updates about our collections, research and more.

We will be continually reviewing the situation and will provide further updates when they are available.

Thank you for your support for our museum – please stay safe and follow the latest official advice.

Young Archaeologists’ Club: Volunteer Assistants Required

We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers to work with Stoke-on-Trent Young Archaeologists’ Club (YAC), helping to provide regular archaeology-themed activities for 8-16 year olds.

Activities usually take place at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery.

What tasks and activities does this involve?

  • Working with the YAC Leader (Curator of Local History), and other Assistants, to support and supervise 8-16 year old YAC members during activity sessions.
  • Following current Young Archaeologists’ Club policies and procedures.
  • Helping the Leader to design and deliver an inclusive and accessible programme that meets the needs and aspirations of YAC members.
  • Helping the Leader to ensure the health, safety and welfare of everyone in the club.
  • Other specific duties agreed with the Leader and with their support and supervision; this could be, for example, writing content for blog posts or YAC website.

What will you gain by being a YAC Assistant?

Being a YAC Assistant can be great fun, and can get you closer to some brilliant local archaeology. You’ll have the chance to get better at:

  • managing groups of young people
  • working in a team
  • communicating with people of all ages and abilities
  • planning and delivering safe, exciting learning experiences

and to develop your understanding of:

  • learning styles and abilities
  • health and safety
  • child protection, and
  • (last but not least) archaeology!

What are the requirements for becoming a YAC Assistant?

YAC Assistants must agree to undergo a criminal record check every three years. They must be at least 16 years old. YAC Assistants come from a wide range of backgrounds and have many and varied skills, including:

  • Enthusiasm for working with young people, and the ability to be a good role model.
  • Enthusiasm for archaeology.
  • The ability to work in a team.
  • The ability to follow the instructions and guidance of the YAC Leader.

What support do YAC Assistants get?

YAC Assistants should go to their Leaders in the first instance for support or with questions, but are also very welcome to approach YAC HQ. YAC Assistants can join YAC’s email network and Facebook group, where you can discuss any issues with other YAC volunteers. YAC organises face-to-face and online training sessions on a range of topics as funding allows, and YAC HQ will send out information about these as they arise.

How much time does being a YAC Assistant take up, and when?

We hold activity sessions once a month on Saturday mornings, usually from 10:30am – 12:30pm. In addition to these activity sessions, YAC Assistants may also spend time planning activities, taking care of branch administration, communicating with the YAC team and with YAC HQ. We estimate that YAC Assistants give an average of five or six hours a month each, but this will vary depending on how tasks are organised.

How do I apply?

To apply, please get in touch with YAC Leader Joe Perry – or 01782 232585.