A world of discovery awaits this summer at Cambridge’s museums. Cyrus Pundole investigates
The long weeks of the summer holidays are just around the corner. Weeks off school, weeks abroad maybe, and definitely a long stretch ahead for inquisitive minds to learn and discover during Summer at the Museums.
There’s a huge number of events from 25 July to 3 September, organised by University of Cambridge Museums & Botanic Garden. From prehistoric-themed crafts and ancient archaeology, to pirate adventures on the high seas and nature-based fun, families can choose from more than 140 free or low-cost events in the city and nearby throughout the county and just beyond.
Museums and collections across the region are ready to deliver a summer of entertainment, with a mix of hands-on activities, events and trails, as well as storytelling and performances, plus interactive workshops. Whether it’s a fun day out, or something to fill a rainy day, there’s sure to be something to keep the family engaged.
There’s sure to be something to keep the family engaged
Perhaps explore the world of dinosaurs at Ely Museum, or learn more about climate change at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. There’s a chance to join the Strong Women circus scientists’ performance at The Fitzwilliam Museum, or become a science detective with things to do and find across several different museums.
“This year’s programme is our biggest yet,” says Summer at the Museums coordinator Susan Miller. “We are looking forward to welcoming families and helping them to discover the amazing collections on their doorstep.”
Among the fab things to try out is “There’s a WHAT in the Garden?” at the Botanic Garden on 26 July, a storytelling and drama session inspired by the book There’s a Tiger in the Garden. Expect laughs and fun for five to seven year olds.
On 1 August, at the University Library, children aged seven to 13 can design their own book and cardboard cover, inspired by the library’s collection of cartoneras from Latin America.
“Walk like a Dino” at the Sedgwick Museum on 6 August features palaeontologists looking for clues as to what colour the dinosaurs were. Children aged four and above can do their own research from 10am till 1pm.
The Centre for Computing History, with its treasure trove of home computers from the not-so-distant past, is always a great place for a rainy day during the holidays. And when children have discovered old computers are fun too, the centre’s team of tutors provide easy access to getting to know modern tech much better. “Making Mischief with the Micro:bit” is coding made fun for ages eight and up; you can catch that on 30 July or 29 August. If you’re more interested in clothing than coding, try finding out all about e-textiles at a session on 27 August for ages 11 and above.
All Saints’ Church will be telling the tales behind its stunning stained glass windows on 20 August, in a free event for five to 11 year olds, while nature under threat, in particular corals and the vital role they play, is under discussion at the Museum of Zoology on 15 August.
Storyteller Marion Leeper weaves her magic for ages three to five when she relates Odysseus the Pirate at the Museum of Classical Archaeology on 13 August.
Saffron Walden Museum’s mascot, Wallace the lion, is celebrating his 200th birthday this year. Visitors are being asked to create a cake for his birthday bake off, maybe win a prize and learn more about his history, and that of the museum itself, on 9 August.