Inspired by the launch of the family friendly museum awards for 2012 (click here to nominate your favourite), I thought I would share with you my favourite museums that are local to us in the Midlands.
The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry – free entrance - the museum is housed in a modern and airy building. It has a small museum with things to read, touch and do against a backdrop of historical information on Coventry that spans pre medieval to modern times. Very visually appealing and great hands on stuff for children. There are also art galleries, an interesting gallery on Lady Godiva (the lady that is supposed to have ridden naked through the streets of Coventry) as well as temporary exhibitions and holiday activities. There is also a small shop and cafe. Staff are friendly and welcoming. One of the few museums where I don’t feel stressed if my son becomes over-excited or touches things.
Love, love, love this museum.
Coventry Transport Museum, Coventry - free entrance – drawing on Coventry’s heritage of bicycle and car manufacture, this museum has an impressive collection of hundreds of cars, vehicles and buses, motorcycles and cycles that span nearly 200 years. Its hard not to get nostalgic when you’re there! There are a number of vehicles that visitors can sit on and other exhibits that encourage younger visitors to interact with the theme of transport. It also houses a small walk-through exhibition that replicates some of the sights and sounds of the Coventry blitz.
Fantastic place for children and adults who are vehicle mad; we have spent many a happy afternoon here with our children.
Black Country Living Museum, Dudley, West Midlands – an open air museum in the heart of the Black Country. Historic buildings have been moved and rebuilt at the site to replicate the industrial part of the Midlands. A fascinating mix of exhibition halls, a canal side village, a funfair, a mine and an operational tram or trolley bus that are brought to life through costumed demonstrators who really get into character and share their knowledge with visitors. Join in with a Victorian lesson in the school (yours truly got a telling off ), take a trip down the mine or watch a silent movie in the small cinema! A unique museum and a great way to learn about our industrial heritage.
RAF Museum, Cosford, Shropshire – free admission to this museum which houses aircraft, war planes and missiles. It’s also home to The National Cold War Exhibition which gives visitors a chance to learn about life behind the Iron Curtain. Fantastic for those with a keen interest in aircraft and the military and for those who enjoy a bit of politics (ie moi!). My son took about 200 photographs, such was his engagement with this museum.
And finally, I can’t mention the Midlands without mentioning Cadbury’s chocolate and that leads us to
Cadbury World, Birmingham - the Cadbury experience takes you on a set route, tracing the development of chocolate from its Aztec origins to the creation of cocoa and to present day production of all our favourites. As you progress through the tour, there are opportunities to taste ‘chocolate’ and lots of fun things to do such as the Cadabra ride and the interactive Purple Planet. There is also an outdoor playground and picnic area, cafe and shop. Kids love it though it can get busy.
If you are interested in visiting the Heart of England, check out the Visit the Heart of England website which provides information and discount vouchers for many museums and places of interest in the area.