17 September 2011
Avoncroft museum is an understated museum in Worcestershire. I had seen the tourist signs for the museum whilst driving past and we visited over the summer bank holiday weekend.
The Avoncroft Museum is about 19 acres in size with over 27 different buildings and structures. There is a large range of different buildings from timber framed buildings to a church steeple, a windmill and an earth closet.
A number of static buildings in themselves is however not going to be enough to occupy two and six year old children, let alone turn it into a fun day out. Fortunately those at the museum know this and have included a number of child friendly activities and features to keep the kids entertained.
One of my children's favourites was the public telephone boxes. And that's nothing to do with their dad happening to work for a Telephone company. It wasn't immediately obvious at first, but upon entering some of the telephone boxes there is an extension number listed which allows one to make a free call between a number of the phone boxes. There was also a selection of different phone makes and rotary dial as well as push button phones.
There is also a miniature railway run by Bromsgrove Society of Model Engineers. There are a number of running days, particularly through August (Details of running days for the miniature railway are available from the Bromsgrove Society of Model Engineers website).
When we visited they also had some number of nature trails for the children to complete. The bugs and beast trail was looking for signs around the museum which our daughter enjoyed. The others were a case of looking out for insects and identifying trees. Whilst these would have been good for a day out with nature we had enough to do with the other activities so didn't really take part in the other two nature hunts.
There are also some good activities available on the website, although perhaps these would be better available to collect on the day as other than research opening times (something which I failed to do that this time and arrived before it opened) I don't really spend a lot of time planning what we are going to do before we actually arrive.
I found the buildings quite interesting, but I wasn't sure how my children would like them. Fortunately there are a number of the buildings that capture the children's interest. Obviously the windmill is one of the big attractions. Earlier in the year we had already visited Working windmill at Zaanse Schans in Holland, whilst the sails may not have been turning it was still quite good being able to climb up the ladder in to the top of the windmill.
The prefab house was also one that went down well as it was furnished an it was interesting to talk with the children about some of the things in the house.
There is also a nature pond and a children's playground. The weather wasn't particularly good when we were there so we didn't spend much time with some of these. It's not a particularly bad place to go when during wet weather, but much of the visit is spent outdoors so dry weather is preferable.
We took a picnic with us (fortunately the rain didn't come until after lunch time). There is a tea-room, but I think they are more predominately tea and scones rather than meals.
As it stands at the moment this is a pretty good museum that my children enjoyed, but most exciting is the construction of a new interactive hands-on building. I believe this is due to be completed ready for 2012 and will provide some interactive activities for children. There were two taster activities (with feedback forms to gauge suitability of future exhibits) which were quite good.
An interesting place to visit. It doesn't compare directly with places like the Black Country Museum (on size or what's in the buildings), but it's an enjoyable, educational day out.