What goes on at? Black Country Living Museum

The Black Country Living Museum in Dudley is an open-air museum designed to transport visitors back to the industrial era. 

What goes on at? Black Country Living Museum

Could you first introduce yourself for the reader?

Hi! I’m Josefine Frank and work at Black Country Living Museum in Dudley, West Midlands.

What happens at your organisation?

Black Country Living Museum is a 26-acre open-air museum that shows visitors what life was like in the world’s first large-scale industrial landscape. Open-air museums like ours don’t create galleries and exhibition halls with cases and labels. Instead we build landscapes, workshops, alleyways, backyards and streets, where things happen. We welcome visitors to immerse themselves in an environment where they can see, smell, hear, touch and taste history. 

Costumed characters and working demonstrations enable people of all ages and backgrounds to truly understand how the Black Country played a central and formative role in the creation of the connected, industrialised world we recognise today.

What do you offer to young people?

Young people can step back in time at the Museum. Ride a bus or take the tram down to our Canalside village where you’ll be in good company with our costumed characters. They’ll share fascinating real-life stories about living, working and shopping in the Black Country from the 1890s to the 1930s. During the summer holidays, we run a variety of hands-on family workshops where young people can learn traditional heritage skills, such as pottery, printmaking or pewter casting.

What activities are most popular for young people and why?

When children and young people visit the Museum, they love to indulge in traditional tastes of the past in our baker’s shop, sweet shop and 1930s fish and chip shop. Close second is some good old fashioned fun with our traditional street games and fairground rides, I think.

Do you run Arts Award? If so, what do you offer and how can young people get involved?

Yes, we run Arts Awards at two levels: For Discover, young people can discover the Victorians through Art. Besides a museum visit, we offer a range of art skill workshops, including Canal Art, Metal forming or Rag Rug Making. The theme for our Bronze Arts Award programme is “Commemoration”. Young people investigate if the Museum can be seen as a memorial to the past.

For Part A, young people take part in a metal-forming and enamelling workshop creating poppies. 

Is there anything you particularly want to promote to young people at the moment?

History buffs aged 8 to 15 can get involved with our Young Curators’ and Archaeologists’ Club. We meet every Wednesday during the school holidays so children can really immerse themselves in a regular meeting and discover more heritage.

Where can people find out more about the work you do?

Visit the Museum’s website www.bclm.com or email us [email protected]

You can also tweet us @BCLMLearning


Sienna James

Sienna James Voice Team

Formerly Assistant Editor, Sienna now studies History of Art at the University of Cambridge and loves to write about the intersection of politics, history and visual art. Sienna is author of the Creative Education and Instaviews series.

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