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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-Trent School of Art and Apprentice Ceramics: Talking Treasures

Did you know that once upon a time each of Stoke-on-Trent’s six towns boasted its own school of art? Assistant Curator of Ceramics Ben Miller introduces us to those schools with a selection of student and apprentice pieces.

Talking Treasures: Stoke-on-Trent Hospitality Wares

Join Assistant Curator of Ceramics Ben Miller for an insight into hospitality wares made in Stoke-on-Trent.

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.

Getting a Lift – Potty Science Club

Hello and welcome to the seventh session of Potty Science Club. We hope you have found our previous experiments interesting and enjoyable.

All our experiments are conducted in a home environment, not in a lab, and will be safe and simple using equipment and items you can find in your own home. The experiments will reflect on an item or exhibit held in the Museum’s collections.

The museum’s largest exhibit recently returned to Stoke-on-Trent – Spitfire RW388. The Spitfire is one of the most famous fighter airplanes in history. The Spitfire’s famously shaped wing is elliptical, with the thinnest possible cross-section and its sunken rivets gave the airplane a much faster top speed than most other fighter airplanes of that time. The special wings also made the Spitfire one of the most manoeuvrable in the sky, giving them the advantage in one-on-one battles.

But how does an airplane fly?

Thrust from an engine allows the plane to move forward, and the fast forward movement creates airflow around the wings.  An airplanes wing is shaped into an aerofoil which looks a bit like a teardrop, Its curved on the top and flat on the underside. The curved top forces the air to move faster and fast-moving air has a lower air pressure – this is known as Bernoulli’s principle. Lift is also created by high pressure under the wing if it is tilted up into the wind – this why planes with flat wings can fly, and why some planes can fly upside down.

 The higher pressure below the wing pushes the wing upward lifting the airplane into the sky.                                  

It would be difficult to demonstrate flight in your home environment, but we can demonstrate Bernoulli’s principle of changing air pressure and achieving lift through a very simple experiment.

All you need for this experiment is a strip of paper, and lung power.

First, hold the edge of the paper below your bottom lip so it hangs like a tongue, and blow hard over the top of the paper.

By blowing across the top of the paper you are lowering the air pressure, the higher air pressure below pushes upwards producing lift, so the paper rises upward.

Simple really!

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

Spitfire RW388 Returns

Last week saw Spitfire RW388 return to the museum after more than 3 years away at the workshops of Medway Aircraft Preservation Society Ltd. The aeroplane arrived in four main pieces: fuselage, tail and the two wings. Each was craned onto the new cafe terrace and wheeled into the building, under the careful supervision of a team from the RAF Museum. The same team spent the remainder of the week reassembling RW388 in the new gallery.

We’ve now got the task of installing the exhibition around the Spitfire, to be ready to open in September 2021.

In the meantime, check out the video below for some of the highlights of the day the Spitfire returned to Stoke-on-Trent.

Nautilus in a Bottle – Potty Science Club

Hello and welcome to Potty Science Club session number 6!

All our experiments are conducted in a home environment, not in a lab, and will be safe and simple using equipment and items you can find in your own home. The experiments will reflect on an item or exhibit held in the Museum’s collections. Today’s experiment involves using scissors, which may require adult supervision or assistance.

A special item amongst the museums many collections is the wonderful shell of a Nautilus. The Nautilus is a member of a group of animals called cephalopods (meaning head-foot). these special creatures have hard external shells and are relatives of the now extinct Ammonites and Belemnites and the living Octopuses and Squid.  Cephalopods originated in the Late Cambrian Period 570 to 500 million years ago but the Nautilus is the only cephalopod with an external shell still alive today.  These amazing creatures first appeared about 500 million years ago and there were many different species living in the seas throughout the ancient world.

Unfortunately, today there are only a few surviving species of the Nautilus. These are found in the seas around Australia and the Philippines. Nautiluses have changed very little over the millions of years they have been around. The Nautilus lives in its shell with only its head and tentacles outside and the shell is divided into chambers filled with gas.  It’s by adjusting the levels of gas that the living Nautilus and can move up from the depths of the ocean to the shallow waters at night time to feed. The gas contained in the Nautiluses chambers is slightly below atmospheric air pressure at sea level.

In this experiment, we will be able see how air pressure can be demonstrated using a water bottle and float. You will also be able to control the float inside the water by altering the air pressure. 
For this experiment you will need:

                                     

A straw (I use re-useable or recyclable straws)
Plasticine, Play dough or similar (I used Blutac)
An empty plastic 2L bottle
A measuring jug
and Scissors

First, cut a small length of the straw. Then plug one end of the straw with plasticine or Bluetac. On the opposite end of the straw, make a ring of plasticine around the outside of the straw. so the straw is weighted but is open at that end). Pop it into the jug of water with the weight at the bottom to see if it floats with just the tip at the surface.  Adjust the weight of the float, adding or removing plasticine until it floats correctly. Keep trying until you get it right.

Next, fill the bottle three quarters full with water. Drop the straw into the bottle weighed-end down (to trap air in the straw) and put on the top, making sure it’s nice and tight. Squeeze the bottle as hard as you can and watch what happens……

The straw will sink!

Take a look at the video to see how I do it:

So what’s going on in the bottle?  

Water and air in a closed bottle create a sealed pressure environment. The air trapped inside the straw makes it float. When you squeeze the bottle you compress the space inside, making less space for the air to circulate, so the air pressure inside the bottle increases, pushing water up into the straw. This makes the straw heavier, so it sinks. When you release the pressure on the bottle, the air has more space to move again, so the pressure decreases and air fills the straw, making it float back to the top of the bottle.

You are watching air pressure in action.  Amazing don’t you think?

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

Curiouser and Curiouser: The Trial

Chapter 9

The King and Queen of Hearts were seated on their throne when they arrived, with a great crowd assembled about them all sorts of little birds and beasts, as well as the whole pack of cards. A Knave was standing before them, in chains, with a soldier on each side to guard him; and near the King was the White Rabbit, with a trumpet in one hand, and a scroll of parchment in the other.

Alice had never been in a court of justice before, but she had read about them in books, and she was quite pleased to find that she knew the name of nearly everything there. “That’s the judge,” she said to herself, “because of his great wig.”

The judge, by the way, was the King; and he wore not so much a wig as a splendorous helmet. It too was gold but had a great red plume down the centre. Even from where she stood Alice could see it was decorated with little soldiers all round. There was no doubt he was the most important person in the court.

As Alice inspected the jury she saw many of them were bejeweled with the finest of gold, there were ruby and gold clasps on their shoulders and Alice noted one in particular had a great gold chain with a cross attached, also centred by a ruby.

The twelve jurors were all writing very busily on slates. “What are they doing?” Alice whispered to the Gryphon. “They can’t have anything to write, the trial’s not begun.”
“Noting their names,” the Gryphon whispered in reply, “for fear they should forget them before the end of the trial.”
“Silence in the court!” yelled the White Rabbit and Alice shrank to avoid the kings gaze.

One of the jurors had a pencil that squeaked and Alice could not stand it, so she went behind him, and found an opportunity of taking it away. She did it so quickly that the poor little juror (it was Bill, the Lizard) could not figure out where it had gone and so was obliged try to write with one finger.

“Herald, read the accusation!” said the King.

On this the White Rabbit blew three blasts on the trumpet, and then unrolled the parchment scroll, and read aloud “the Knave is charged with stealing the mystery object.”

“Consider your verdict,” the King said to the jury.
“Not yet, not yet!” the Rabbit hastily interrupted. “There’s a great deal to come before that!”

The Hatter was called up to the stand; Alice could see where this was going after her own experience with the Hatter and so turned to the Dormouse who was sitting beside her.
“Excuse me, but what is the mystery object?”

The Dormouse yawned and pointed at a strange shaped in a glass case near where the king was standing. Inside was the strangest looking item Alice thought she had seen all day, and from here it almost looked like a bust of some kind. She would have to get closer to see it.

She had been so many different sizes today that Alice had almost forgotten she hadn’t quite gotten back to normal size when the familiar tingling sensation struck, within a minute Alice had grown enough that the dormouse yelled “I wish you would move over! I can hardly breathe.”
“I can’t help it” was her response “I’m growing.”
The interrogation of the Hatter was coming to a close:
“If that’s all you know about it, you may stand down,” continued the King.
“I can’t go any lower,” said the Hatter: “I’m on the floor, as it is.”
“Then you may sit down,” the King replied.
“I’d rather finish my tea,” said the Hatter, with an anxious look at the Queen, who was fiddling with her golden rings.
“You may go,” said the King, and the Hatter hurriedly left the court, without even waiting to put his shoes on.
“Just take his head off outside,” the Queen added to one of the officers: but the Hatter was out of sight before the officer could get to the door.
“Call the next witness!” said the King.

Alice watched the White Rabbit as he fumbled over the list, feeling very curious to see what the next witness would be like, “—for they haven’t got much evidence yet,” she said to herself. Imagine her surprise, when the White Rabbit read out, at the top of his shrill little voice, the name “Alice!”

“Here!” cried Alice, quite forgetting in the flurry of the moment how large she had grown in the last few minutes, and she jumped up in such a hurry that she tipped over the jury-box with the edge of her skirt, upsetting all the jurymen on to the heads of the crowd below, and there they lay sprawling about, reminding her very much of a globe of goldfish she had accidentally upset the week before.

As soon as the jury had a little recovered from the shock of being upset, and their slates and pencils had been found and handed back to them, they set to work very diligently to write out a history of the accident, all except the Lizard, who seemed too much overcome to do anything but sit with its mouth open, gazing up into the roof of the court.

“What do you know about this business?” the King said to Alice.
“Nothing,” said Alice.
“Nothing whatever?” persisted the King.
“Nothing whatever,” said Alice.

Now that she was closer, she could see that the mystery object was not a bust, but she thought the name was well placed for she had no clue what it could be. It was a round golden plate, inlaid with more red stones in a series of intricate designs. Attached to that was a strange cylinder, this too was inlaid with red stones, but the pattern was simple, just a line of stones adorned it. Finally, the top, it was a sort of button that had been positioned on a cylinder very much in the way a hat would sit on one’s head, the button was patterned with an almost checkerboard except the squares were not all equal and it had dainty blue lines on it. Alice had almost forgotten where she was in the allure of the mystery object, she had continued growing and was now squeezed into the witness box very uncomfortably.

The King had decided Alice had no more to say on the matter and simply said “Let the jury consider their verdict,” for what must have been the twentieth time that day.

“No, no!” said the Queen. “Sentence first—verdict afterwards.”
“Stuff and nonsense!” said Alice loudly. “The idea of having the sentence first!”
“Hold your tongue!” said the Queen, turning purple.
“I won’t!” said Alice. She had grown enough that she was no longer fearful of arguing with the formidable Queen.
“Off with her head!” the Queen shouted at the top of her voice. Nobody moved.
“Who cares for you?” said Alice, (having grown to her full size by this time.) “You’re nothing but a pack of cards!”

At this the whole pack rose into the air and came flying down upon her: she gave a little scream and tried to beat them off, all of a sudden, she found herself lying on the bank, with her head in the lap of her sister, who was gently brushing away some dead leaves that had fluttered down from the trees upon her face.

“Wake up, Alice dear!” said her sister; “Why, what a long sleep you’ve had!”

“Oh, I’ve had such a curious dream!” said Alice, and she told her sister, as well as she could remember them, all these strange Adventures of hers that you have just been reading about. When she had finished, her sister kissed her, and said, “It was a curious dream, dear, certainly: but now run in to your tea; it’s getting late.” So Alice got up and ran off, thinking while she ran, what a wonderful dream it had been.

The End


Continue the Story


Discover and Play

Chapter 9 Featured Objects:

Figure of the White rabbit as The Herald in the Court Scene
Modelled by Kathleen Goodwin

Near the King was the White Rabbit, with a trumpet in one hand, and a scroll of parchment in the other.

Bone china, painted with enamels. Kathleen Goodwin specialised in small sculptural figures modelled in bone china, and produced a number of figures based on the original Tenniel drawings from Alice in Wonderland of which this appears to have been the first.

Kathleen Goodwin was locally-born and trained. She was a member of the Society of Staffordshire Artists and exhibited with them from 1937 until 1951.

The Cup of Knowledge
Aynsley, 1925

“You’re nothing but a pack of cards!” At this the whole pack rose up into the air, and came flying down upon her

The design of cards has changed greatly over the centuries but by 1865 when Alice was published, packs or ‘decks’ of cards looked the way they do today. They comprised 52 cards with rounded corners and has four ‘suits’ in two colours – hearts and diamonds are red, while spade and clubs are black – and the court cards (king, queen, and knave) are ‘reversible’.

While packs of cards can be used for playing a variety of games, either alone or with other players they can have many other uses, including building structures to create a ‘house of cards’.

Cards have also been used in fortune-telling, with different characteristics being assigned to each card. This cup, made by the Aynsley company of Longton is titled ‘The Cup of Knowledge’ and was first put into production in 1925.

Chapter 9 Blogs, games and activities:

The Secrets of Playing Cards

The Secrets of Playing Cards

Find out about the history of playing card sets in the museum's collection