STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) activities, potion making, new special exhibitions, ceramic workshops and free art sessions are just some of the activities on offer for families at Swindon Borough Council-owned venues over the Easter holidays.
Swindon’s STEAM Museum and Lydiard House Museum are both holding a range of events to interest visitors of all ages.
At STEAM – Museum of the Great Western Railway, the second exhibition in this year’s series opens on Saturday, 9 April. The Diesel Decades follows the story of Britain’s railways as they moved from using steam engines to diesel-powered locomotives instead.
The Diesel Decades looks at the early diesel experiments by various railway companies and the effect it had on the British Railways Modernisation Plan, which saw a switch to diesel locomotives in the 1950s, with the introduction of the InterCity 125 and beyond. The exhibition explores the impact of diesel on the locomotive driver, passengers and the Swindon Railway Works.
The Diesel Decades features an array of fascinating images and objects from the STEAM collection, which will be on display for the very first time. A particular highlight is an original livery drawing for the Class 52 Western locomotive showing the experimental colour Golden Ochre.
Visitors can learn about the future of transport with STEAM’s educational workshops on Wednesday, 13 and Thursday, 14 April. Children can have a go at designing an electrical circuit then build the bodywork for an electric vehicle whether it be a sleek speedster or a comfy cruiser. Each session lasts up to two hours and costs £8.50 per child.
The museum is also hosting a family art and craft session with Swindon Museum and Art Gallery’s Art on Tour team on Wednesday, 20 April. Children can try their hand at recycled sculpture, collage and can even design their own train! Sessions last 45 minutes and need to be pre-booked. They are suitable for those aged three and over. Tickets for the sessions and many of the activities are free, with a small number of optional extra activities payable on the day. The activities do not include admission to STEAM Museum.
Museum admission and tickets for activities must be booked in advance on the STEAM website: steam-museum.org.uk
Lydiard House Museum
The beautiful State Rooms of Lydiard House are reopening on Saturday, 9 April following a winter hiatus.
A brand-new art trail entitled Interventions brings artworks from Swindon Museum and Art Gallery to the historic setting of Lydiard House Museum. This playful trail responds to the grand Palladian spaces with modern creativity, encouraging fresh visual and contextual relationships between the two.
The Swindon Museum and Art Gallery team are also hosting free, drop-in outdoor art activities between 10am and 4pm on Wednesday, 13 April where people can try some Easter-themed crafts and nature art. These sessions are suitable for all the family, but are weather dependent.
In the 17th Century, Lady Johanna St John of Lydiard House made poultices and potions from herbs and plants known for their healing properties. On Wednesday, 20 April, a Medical Lotions and Potions family activity will be taking place within the garden at Lydiard House Museum. During the session children will get the chance to dress up in a lab coat and create their own potion to take home. Sessions cost £2 per person, in addition to House admission. Spaces can be pre-booked by emailing email@example.com
From Saturday, 9 April, Lydiard House Museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 11am to 4pm (last admission 3.30pm).
Tickets can be purchased from the House on the day. Admission to Lydiard House costs £5 for an adult and £2.75 for a child (Under 3s go free). Family tickets are also available.