Family activities this Easter at Museums Northumberland
From bugs to the Easter Bunny, and LS Lowry to newly discovered Anglo-Saxon treasure, Museums Northumberland, has unveiled some of the exciting events taking place at its four sites this Easter holidays.
From 4 – 6 April and 11 – 13 April, Woodhorn Museum presents bugs n stuff, a series of fun and interactive workshops giving children and families the chance to see and learn more about creatures from the insect, amphibian and reptile world.
Led by wildlife expert Guy Tansley, each workshop gives people the chance to get close to some of the animal kingdom’s most unique creatures, including praying mantis, giant tarantulas, insects, frogs, lizards and beetles. Families can guess the number of legs on a millipede, find out what a snake feels like, and try to find the stick insects hiding amongst the leaves.
Tickets for the hour-long bugs n stuff workshops are free but must be booked in advance at museumsnorthumberland.org.uk.
Families looking to get creative over the Easter break can join the one of the free Woodhorn Wildflowers craft sessions, which take place daily at Woodhorn Museum from Saturday 1 to Sunday 16 April. Using tissue paper, people can create their own bold and beautiful wildflower to mark the arrival of spring.
The Easter Bunny will also be making a special appearance at Woodhorn Museum from Good Friday (07 April) to Easter Monday (10 April). Anyone that finds the Easter Bunny at Woodhorn will win a sweet treat.
At Berwick Museum and Art Gallery, which reopens on Saturday 01 April, visitors can explore a new display about the Ord Cross, a piece of Anglo-Saxon jewellery first discovered on the banks of the River Tweed in 2019.
The small, 12 carat gold cross, estimated to have been made some time between the 7th and 10th centuries, is inscribed with the name of its owner – Eadruf – who is believed to be the earliest known named Northumbrian in the Museums Northumberland collections.
Ord was part of the large parish belonging to Lindisfarne, which sat on a popular ancient river route between the Abbeys of Lindisfarne and Old Melrose. It’s here the cross is thought to have been lost; laying undiscovered for centuries. A series of special family activities connected to the new display are taking place throughout the Easter holidays.
On Wednesday 05 and Thursday 13 April, visitors to Berwick Museum and Art Gallery can design and make their own Anglo-Saxon-inspired brooch using shiny foil and gems. And on Thursday 6 and Wednesday 12 April, families can mold an Ord Cross out of clay and etch their own name using Anglo-Saxon Runes (symbols used by the Anglo-Saxons as an alphabet).
In addition to the family events, on the evening of Monday 03 April, Professor John Hines from Cardiff University will be delivering a lecture at Berwick Guild Hall about the origins of the Ord Cross and its significance to the region.
Also being unveiled at Berwick Museum and Art Gallery during the Easter holidays is a new display of seaside-related objects from Berwick-upon-Tweed and Spittal that celebrate the museum’s recently acquired LS Lowry painting, ‘Beach Scene’ (c1960), which depicts the beach and sand dunes in the former fishing village of Spittal. LS Lowry was a regular visitor to the area and the painting is the first by the artist to go on permanent display in Berwick-upon-Tweed.
Saturday 01 April also sees the reopening of Hexham Old Gaol, which holds the title of being England’s earliest purpose-built prison. Families are invited to learn more about crime and punishment throughout Northumberland’s turbulent history, and explore the history of the Border Reivers; the violent family clans born out of centuries of fighting between the English and the Scottish in the border country. Hexham Old Gaol also has a display of helmets on loan from The Royal Armouries.
Visitors to Morpeth Chantry Bagpipe Museum this Easter can learn more about Northumberland’s iconic regional instruments, including the county’s own dedicated musical instrument, the Northumberland Pipes.
With more 120 sets of pipes in the collection from destinations including Scotland, Spain, Italy, France, and Estonia, Morpeth Chantry Bagpipe Museum is a treasure trove for music lovers. The museum is also home to the Northern Poetry Library and Craft Centre.
Rowan Brown, chief executive of Museums Northumberland, said: “Easter sees all four of our museum sites open to the public once again following the winter break, so this is always an exciting time of year.
“Whether you’re looking to explore the natural world, enjoy artwork from some of the world’s greatest painters, or learn more about Northumberland’s long and fascinating history, you can do it all at Museums Northumberland.
“Each museum offers something different, so if you’ve not visited one of our sites before, now is the perfect time to discover some of the truly unique stories about our special county.”
For more information, images or interview requests, please contact David Brookbanks on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07948 563 612.
Notes to editor
About Museums Northumberland
Museums Northumberland (the public name for Woodhorn Charitable Trust) is Northumberland’s museum service, which cares for sites of historic interest and collections across the county.
Museums Northumberland comprises Woodhorn Museum in Ashington, Berwick Museum and Art Gallery, Hexham Old Gaol and Morpeth Chantry Bagpipe Museum.
Museums Northumberland is supported by Northumberland County Council and is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation. Museums Northumberland has also received funding through government’s Culture Recovery Fund.