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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.

Stoke-on-Sea

Get inspired by summer time and the Great British holiday. Below you can find links to themed craft activities and discover some holiday souvenirs of years-gone-by.

Summer in the Collections

Summer in the Collections

Holiday and summer-themed objects in our collection
Outings and Holidays

Outings and Holidays

Photographs of the trips of yesteryear from Exploring the Potteries
Blog – “I do like to be beside the seaside…”

Blog – “I do like to be beside the seaside…”

Exploring the history of some of our seaside habits
The Art of the Seaside

The Art of the Seaside

Enjoy a range of seaside-inspired paintings from our collections via Art UK.
Design a Kite

Design a Kite

Design your own kite - print, colour and cut-out
Seaside Mobile

Seaside Mobile

Make and hang around your house for a reminder of summer all year round.
Summer Sunglasses

Summer Sunglasses

Make your own cool summer shades!
Punch and Judy Finger Puppets

Punch and Judy Finger Puppets

Print, colour, and cut-out your very own seaside puppet show!

CSI: Stoke

CSI: The Staffordshire Hoard | 2011 & 2013

CSI: The Staffordshire Hoard | 2011 & 2013

Discover more about our CSI event held in 2011 and 2013.
CSI: The Science of the Great War | 2015

CSI: The Science of the Great War | 2015

Find out more about our 2015 CSI event
CSI: The Science of the Great War | 2017

CSI: The Science of the Great War | 2017

Discover more about our CSI event in 2017.
CSI: The Scientific Legacy of WWI | 2018

CSI: The Scientific Legacy of WWI | 2018

Discover more about our 2018 event.

Partners:

Stoke-on-Trent Young Archaeologists’ Club

PLEASE NOTE – our membership is fully subscribed, but get in touch if your child would like to be put on our waiting list.

We are looking for Volunteer Assistants to join us in running Stoke-on-Trent YAC. Find out more.

Stoke-on-Trent YAC is open to everyone aged 8–16 years. YAC clubs get involved in all sorts of activities, including visiting and investigating archaeological sites and historic places, trying out traditional crafts, taking part in excavations, and lots more.

Stoke-on-Trent YAC is based at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. The club usually meets once a month. It is an affiliated club of the YAC network, and is run by staff and volunteers at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, which is run by Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

Membership currently costs £24.00 per year and renews each January.

If you’d like to get involved with Stoke-on-Trent YAC, or find out more about how the club is run, get in touch with the team using the details below:

Contact: Joe Perry (Curator of Local History)
Tel: 01782 232539
Email:

You can find out more about Stoke-on-Trent YAC, and other branches, on the YAC website.

Stoke Museums launches new Website

Noticed a few changes around here? Stoke-on-Trent Museums has just launched its new and improved website. The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery and Gladstone Pottery Museum each has a new dedicated site in which you can find information about all of our upcoming events, exhibitions and blog stories from behind-the-scenes.

Please take the time to look around and be sure to let us know if you have any comments or questions about the new website.

Potty Gardening Club: Pumpkins and Halloween

Pumpkins are members of the Melon Family, along with melons, water melons, gourds, cucumbers, squashes and luffas. There are about 142 types of pumpkin worldwide, probably originating in Central America about 7,500 years ago with seeds being found in ancient ruins in Mexico.

Although you may think of a pumpkin as a vegetable, it is actually considered to be a fruit because it develops from a flower and contains seeds. Stems, roots, leaves and flower buds are considered to be vegetables.
Although Pumpkins are excellent for eating, they are best known for being carved into ghoulish faces at Halloween. Did you know that long before the pumpkin became a Halloween decoration, people used to carve scary faces into turnips and place them in the doorway to frighten away evils spirits? It all began with a man named Jack who, after trying to trick the Devil, was cursed to roam the Earth with only a burning coal held inside a hollowed-out turnip.

The story tells of Stingy Jack who wasn’t a very nice man being chased by some villagers he had stolen from. While running away he bumped into the Devil who told him it was time for him to die. Jack tricked the Devil by offering the church-going villagers chasing him instead. He told the Devil (who could change into anything he wanted) to turn into a coin so he could pay for the stolen goods, but later the coin could disappear and the villagers would fight over who had stolen it and the Devil could take them. The Devil turned himself into a silver coin and jumped into Jack’s purse where jack had put a small silver cross he had pinched in the village. The cross stripped the Devil of his powers; and so he was trapped. After promising never to take his soul, Jack releases the Devil. Many years later when Jack died, he couldn’t go to heaven because he had been so bad and the Devil had promised never to take his soul, and so Jack had nowhere to go except the darkness. The Devil gave Jack a burning coal for light if he could carry it, But of course it burned Jacks hands. So Jack carved out a turnip and put the coal inside it to light his way as he endlessly wandered the Earth looking for a resting place. He became known as “Jack of the Lantern”, or Jack o’lantern.

Last year Potty Gardeners attending the museum club took part in a pumpkin carving competition. The results were brilliant, with some really scary pumpkin heads being produced. This year things have to be a little different but we can still have a competition just for fun. You can carve your Pumpkin heads at home, or if you can’t do this you can draw your design on the pumpkin drawing sheet provided. You can also make it into a mask by adding ties and wearing it on Halloween night. You can send us photographs of your creations so we can post them here – Email us at or tag us @potteriesmuseum (Twitter) or @thepotteriesmuseum (Facebook).

Have a Happy and scary Halloween.

Written by Rob Gagliano, Casual Learning Development Leader and Natural Science Collections Volunteer

For Families

Welcome back! We are now open.

We have made a few changes to ensure you can safely enjoy your visit to The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery. These include pre-booked free timed entry to the museum, social distancing measures and a one-way system around our galleries. Face coverings are mandatory for all visitors unless exempt or for children under 11 years of age. You can find all the relevant information here.

All our indoor galleries will be open to the public and you can find a floor plan here for visitors wishing to familiarise themselves with the building beforehand. Link

Baby changing facilities are available in both the male and female ground floor toilets.

Cloakroom facilities will not be available for visitors. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused.

Pushchairs and buggies Pushchairs and buggies will need to stay with you on your visit please. The museum is fully accessible for prams and buggies and there is a lift available for you to use in your family bubble.

The Museum Café

We have temporarily relocated the café to the old Spitfire Gallery on the Ground Floor. Social distancing measures are in place and we will be operating an at-table service. We have a revised seasonal menu that can be found here.

We are currently offering a free children’s lunch box with any 2 adults meals purchased, minimum spend £6. Boxes include a choice of Cheese, Ham or Tuna, sandwich, small KitKat and carton of Apple or Orange juice.

If possible, we would prefer contactless payment in our café and retail shop. We request that visitors do not eat food in the museum galleries.

What can we do at the museum?

All our interactives have been taken off display, but there’s still a lot for families to do with trails and interactive family activity bags that bring the collections to life and create a fun adventure around the museum.

Museum Activities with Ozzy Owl pack: Natural Science

This pack contains fun activities for you to complete as a family in the Natural Science Gallery and at home. To help you complete the activities the pack will include an Ozzy Owl pencil and pencil crayons for you to keep. The packs can be purchased from the Welcome Desk for £5 or ordered at time of booking ready to collect on entry.

Ozzy Owl Trails

Help Ozzy Owl to complete the task set in the trail. There will be a different theme every month. These can be purchased from the Welcome Desk for £1.50 which includes a free Ozzy Owl pencil for you to take home.

Please note that we are no longer able to supply clipboards with the trails but if you have one at home please feel free to bring this with you.

October Half-Term and Halloween Activities

Ozzy Owl has emerged from lockdown with a special seasonal trail. Help him find 8 ingredients for his spooky spell from around the Ground Floor. These can be purchased from the Welcome Desk for £1.50 which includes a free Ozzy Owl pencil for you to take home.

As a special seasonal treat our family activity bags will also include two frightfully good homemade cupcakes to eat at home. This offer will run from Saturday 24 October until Sunday 1 November. Please bring your activity bag back to the Welcome Desk when leaving the museum to collect your free cakes.

From Saturday 24 October until Sunday 1 November we are pleased to announce that we’re part of the national Where’s Wally? Spooky Museum Search, organised by Kids in Museums and Walker Books, to celebrate the release of the new Where’s Wally? book, Spooky Spotlight Search. Can you find Wally in our collections? Pick up a free activity sheet at the Welcome Desk and get a spooky bookmark if you take part. Please bring your own pencil.

On Tuesday 27 and Thursday 29 October children can create their own bat inspired hat to wear from card and paper. Booking essential due to limited numbers, please call 01782 232323 to book a place. Cost £1.50 per child payable on booking.

Visit our Local History galleries and see a magical transformation as we enter a world inspired by JK Rowling’s famous characters. Can you spot the snowy owl in our pub, identify the witch’s potions in the chemist shop and unravel the spell in the schoolroom?

For those holding Halloween parties at home our café can provide the ‘treat’ for the occasion, we will leave the ‘trick’ up to you! As part of our new Call and Collect takeaway service we can provide a range of devilishly delicious homemade cakes decorated with a spider’s web, witches’ hats or pumpkins to take home. The three designs come in the following flavours –

• Victoria Sponge
• Chocolate
• Lemon
• Carrot

They are 7” and are three tiered. The cost is £15. Please call 01782 232572 at least 24 hours in advance to place your order.

Potty Gardening Club – Fantastic Fungus

Summer has come to an end and autumn is now with us as plants die back and trees slowly go to sleep ready for the winter. This is the time of year when another lifeform is popping up in gardens and woods and lots of other places. They are neither Plant nor Animal. They are rarely noticed but are essential to our survival, as well as wildlife and the countryside. Fungi are a fantastic life form, they are everywhere; in the soil, the air, in, on and within plants and animals, in food and in the human body. They are present in rivers lakes and the sea . Together with bacteria, fungi are responsible for breaking down organic matter and releasing carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and phosphorus into the soil and the atmosphere.

As soon as something dies fungi gets to work breaking it down; rotting it, digesting it and recycling it back into the soil. There are about 14,500 species in the UK. Have a look at the photos of some I have found in my garden and out and about. You may be able to find some in your own garden but REMEMBER SOME MAY BE POISONOUS! so please don’t handle them. Mushrooms and toadstools you see growing in your garden or in the woods are only a very small part of a much larger organism. The main body is hidden beneath the ground and may spread throughout the woods or your garden for many kilometres in area just below the ground, with a cotton thin web (filaments) which digests and rots organic matter, absorbing it into the body of the surface growing fungi.

When fungi reproduce, a sometimes brightly coloured and sometimes stinky fruit-containing spore breaks through the ground. These are the mushrooms we see and the spores are the fungi’s version of seeds. Insects, worms, slugs, snails and animals love fungi and feed on it during the autumn. Squirrels and mice gather it to help stock the larder before winter comes. For us Humans fungus is important; Edible mushrooms, morels and truffles make a delicious meal and fungus (yeast) is used in making bread, some cheeses, wine and beer. One form of fungi is a green mold, Penicillium notatum, that attacks fruits. Perhaps you have seen this yourself at home when fruit has been left to long. Well, Alexander Fleming in 1928 noticed it. That same green mold he was growing in a culture dish had a clear ring around it where no bacteria grew. This was the beginning of the development of Penicillin, the antibiotic drug that fights Staphylococcus.


Fungus has been around for nearly one billion years and have been found in some of the oldest plant fossils examined. Did you know that a giant prehistoric fossil has shown to be the remains of a tree-like fungus that could have grown up to 6 meters tall? Imagine, long before trees appeared on land earth could have been covered by giant mushrooms. Now thats some Fantastic fungus!

Written by Rob Gagliano, Casual Learning Development Leader and Natural Science Collections Volunteer

Spitfire Progress – roundels and more!

We’re very pleased to bring you an especially exciting progress report – it feels like a couple of significant milestones have been reached since our last update.

Stencilling

Last time we reported that the greys and green of the Spitfire’s main colour scheme had been applied. Now the RAF roundel, serial number, and squadron code have all been added by spraying paint over carefully applied stencils.

Roundel stencils applied
Stenciling codes and the RAF roundel onto the fuselage
Applying the yellow circle of the roundel
The finished result

Roundels are commonly used on a military aircraft to identify its nation. They were first used during the First World War. The red, white and blue roundel has been used on British aircraft since 1915. The yellow ring was added in 1940 to make the roundels more noticeable against the body of an aeroplane.

The serial number of our Spitfire is RW388. Every aeroplane built was issued its own unique code consisting of a combination of letters and numbers. During the war, gaps were deliberately made in the number registers to make it harder for the enemy to estimate the amount of aeroplanes being built.

Finally, the U4 U painted onto the fuselage is the squadron code. This is the aeroplane’s unique call sign whilst serving with a particular squadron. Our spitfire served with a number of different squadrons over the years, but U4 U was its very first call sign when it joined No. 667 Squadron RAF in 1945.

Reassembling the long lost cockpit

The painting of the cockpit interior and cleaning and lacquering of brass pipework is now complete. This means that many of the objects being refurbished, procured or manufactured for the interior are starting to be fitted. There’s still work to be done – but even at this stage it is the most complete RW388’s cockpit has ever been since it came to the City in 1972.

Below you can see the control column installed (wrapped for its protection) and the port (left) side of the cockpit interior with the gun camera control, the elevator trim tab control and a support structure for two fuse boxes all now fitted.

Control column, hiding behind bubble wrap
Cockpit interior, port side

The image below shows the starboard (right) side of the cockpit with many fittings and items now installed in the newly cleaned and painted interior including a replica ventilation control box, canopy winder and undercarriage chassis selector. Around 50% of the items pictured have always been missing and MAPSL have had the challenge of sourcing them or making replicas.

Cockpit interior, starboard side

Creative replicas include this windscreen de-icer pump – made from the body of a 1940s grease gun!

Replica windscreen de-icer pump

Continuing Research

Finally, we’re working closely with MAPSL and Operation Spitfire to uncover even more information about the history of the aircraft. We’ve identified the names of some of its pilots and we’d love to track down any living friends or relatives.

Crash report identifying F.Lt Kalinowksi

So far we have 3 names, all Polish gentleman:

F/Lt Zbigniew Teofil Kalinowski P0231. Born 07/10/10, died 22/2/85 aged 75, Lincoln

W/O Edwin Malinowski (Malin) 781256. Born 10/11/19, died 8/2/88 aged 69, Nottingham.

FSgt Roman Jozef Przystaijko 706725. Name changed by deed poll in 1958 to Roman Joseph Rolland. Born 17/10/20, died 03/02/86 aged 66, London

If you have any links to any of these men it would be fantastic to hear from you at .

Potty Gardening Club: Clever Berries

At this time of year you will notice that on some plants in your garden berries have replaced the flowers. The hedgerows are full with different berries providing a feast for people and wildlife. Berries are a very clever way to entice birds and other animals to distribute a plant’s seeds. Packed with vitamins and energy, a berry is a small, pulpy, and often edible fruit. Juicy, rounded and brightly coloured, most berries are either red or black to be more visible to the birds. Berries are a very important food source for many birds through the winter when the ground may be frozen hard or covered with snow, making it impossible to hunt for worms or snails and insects.

Berries can taste sweet or sour and contain many pips or seeds. Gooseberry, Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Red currants and White currants are all edible berries suitable for humans. But there are many berries that are poisonous to us that aren’t poisonous to other creatures. Many different birds eat a variety of berries that are poisonous to humans. I have cotoneaster and ivy growing in my garden and to me the berries would be poisonous, but research has shown for birds the dry pith of the ivy berry contains nearly as many calories as a Mars Bar and the birds love it (Personally I would choose the Mars Bar).

In most cases the bird digests the pith and the seeds travel through the bird’s gut, to be dropped in bird poo undamaged ready to germinate many miles away. Have you ever noticed young trees and bushes seem to grow against fences and posts and ivy, cotoneaster and brambles grow up through your hedge? This is because the birds use these as perching posts and drop seed-laden poo below. Some berry seeds actually need to pass through a bird’s gut to be able to grow.

Another cunning way berry seeds use birds to spread is to be sticky. Berries like mistletoe, which is a parasitic plant, stick to the bill of birds like the Mistle Thrush, which feed on the berries. The birds have to wipe their bills clean on other trees, sowing more mistletoe plants. How clever is that?

Berries are a brilliant and important food source for animals like mice, hedgehogs, squirrels foxes and badgers. They also attract insects, another good food source for birds. Have you any berry plants growing in your garden? Why not have a go and plant a berry? You can use cotoneaster, holly or other berries. Just put it into a hole (not too deep) in the ground or pop it into a pot of compost and put it outside in a sheltered spot. Keep it damp and see if you can get it to grow. It may take awhile to start growing, be patient. Remember to be aware of any allergies, wear gloves and wash your hands well after you have finished and be ‘berry’ careful when using tools.

Happy Gardening!

Written by Rob Gagliano, Casual Learning Development Leader and Natural Science Collections Volunteer

School Loans Box Service

Bring the museum into your classroom with one of our PMAG loans boxes. Our loans boxes contain either real or replica artefacts, which have been chosen to support your classroom teaching.

They are a great way to give your class an exciting, hands on learning experience, which engages them with history or the natural world. Each box contains a set of teaching resources with information about each artefact, learning activity ideas, an object handling guide and worksheets.

All our boxes are given a 72 hour quarantine period between bookings, to comply with current Covid-19 safety advice. Read our Covid 19 Loans box method statement for more information.

Boxes are loaned for periods of 2 weeks at a cost of £25. A £10 ‘Late return deposit,’ will also be taken, which is returnable if your box is returned by the agreed return date.   

Our boxes will be available from the Autumn half term holiday (October 26th), you can book now by e-mailing  

Our boxes

Stone Age

This box contains an exciting selection of real prehistoric stone tools and weapons. Let your class touch and investigate objects that are thousands of years old!

Box contents: Palaeolithic hand axe, Neolithic rough cut axe head , Late Neolithic ground axe head, Neolithic arrowhead, replica arrow head, Neolithic Awl, Neolithic scraper, Palaeolithic blade, Neolithic slug knife.

Ancient Egypt

Explore Ancient Egyptian life and death with a collection of engaging replica artefacts. Box contents: Canopic jars, Rosetta Stone, charms, shrine, Faience scarab, Faience goose, Osiris Statuette, Bastet Statuette, necklace, model of mummy in sarcophagus.

Anglo Saxons

This box contains replica artefacts which can be used to learn about the lives of the Anglo Saxons. The box contains: Seax (blunted knife) in leather scabbard, pottery stamps, coins, pottery lamp, drinking horn, brooches, ruins, drinking horn, Pictures of the Staffordshire Hoard. Chainmail patch.

WW2: Evacuees

Use the replica objects in this box to discover what life was like for evacuee children during WW2. Box contents: suitcase, period children’s clothes, gas mask in bag, coins in tin, marbles, skipping rope, yoyo, enamel chamber pot, enamel tea can, replica wartime papers (leaflets, rationing cards, identity cards).

Fossils

Our Fossils Box contains different interesting plant and animal fossil specimens, some of which have been found in the Staffordshire and the West Midlands. Box Contents: Belemnite, Ammonite, rock containing several Ammonites, Trilobite, plaster cast of Trilobite, Gryphaea, Seed Fern, Sea Urchin.

 Please note items in the boxes may be occasionally changed or removed at times for repair.

See our Covid-19 Method Statement.