Museums and libraries in Stoke-on-Trent are providing a host of festive online activities, services and shopping opportunities to help families mark the run up to Christmas.
The buildings may be temporarily closed to the public because of current Covid restrictions, but there are lots of alternative opportunities to entertain the family, as well as pick up some unique presents before the big day.
The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery will be holding online events, children’s activities and digital exhibitions to help residents celebrate.
Gladstone Pottery Museum is running an advent calendar on its social media channels – using videos of real doors at the museum – as well as a ‘12 kilns of Christmas’ celebration.
For residents who need the perfect Christmas gift, both museums are also offering fantastic call and collect services from their gift shops. There is a huge range of locally-produced items and presents such as artwork and craft items that customers won’t find on the High Street.
Other Stokie items at the Potteries Museum include Staffordshire Hoard-inspired jewellery, ceramics featuring the iconic Spitfire, studio pottery created by local artists and even jewellery made with real flowers. The Gladstone shop includes beautiful ceramics made and decorated by the skilled demonstration staff at the museum. There are also Stoke-on-Trent greetings cards, bottle oven-inspired gifts, local history books, lots of ware from city businesses and more.
Customers can check out the wide selection of items online, then call the museums to order, pay and arrange a safe location for collection. The sites also offer a post and package service. More details are available via https://www.stokemuseums.org.uk/ , https://www.stokemuseums.org.uk/pmag/visit/gift-shop/ and https://www.stokemuseums.org.uk/gpm/shop/
Stoke-on-Trent’s libraries are running their click, call and collect service. As part of this, the libraries are also creating Christmas book bundles for children – with a range of festive options available for families to borrow.
Librarians are also putting on a series of online activities for children and families to help everyone get in the festive spirit, including Christmas story times, craft sessions and sing-along events. These will all be available via Stoke-on-Trent Libraries’ Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/stokeontrentlibraries/
Councillor Lorraine Beardmore, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for public health, culture and leisure said: “Our museum and library teams have worked really hard during the pandemic to entertain families online, and Christmas will be no exception. This Christmas will be different for many of us, and for regular visitors of the libraries and museums, they won’t be able to join in with the normal activities we would be running, so its fantastic that we can still have virtual Christmas activities for families to enjoy. These sites play a really important part in the festive season and for many will be part of their Christmas traditions, so make sure you check out their social media and give them a follow for all of the latest information about what’s coming up.
“Remember, you can still click, call and collect books from our libraries in a covid-secure way – and the Christmas bundles are a great way of enjoying reading with your family over the holidays. Plus the online videos with our librarians are really fun – they’re definitely getting into the festive spirit.
“Also, don’t miss the chance to use the museums’ gift shop call and collect services – there are some amazing, locally-produced items that you can’t get anywhere else. Supporting the museum shops will give something back to local businesses and the items on sale make fantastic presents for everyone who loves this city.”
Christmas opening times for the city council’s museums, libraries and other services will be available via stoke.gov.uk
Further information about Christmas activities at the city council’s museums and libraries:
Potteries Museum & Art Gallery
- Call and collect gift shop service. Choose from a wide range of items online and call the museum on 01782 232323 to order, pay and arrange a safe location to collect outside the museum. Staff also offer a post and package service for customers living outside the local area. There is a wide range of gifts including locally-made ceramics, jewellery, Christmas cards and local history books. Many items are unique to the shop and have been inspired by the collections. This week’s special offer is a 20% discount on St Justin Staffordshire Hoard jewellery. Please call or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- More Ghost Stories for Christmas. Friday, December 18 to Sunday, January 3. The museum is hosting an online presentation with the Don’t Go Into The Cellar Theatre Company. Guests can go online to join Alfred St John Merrimoon, as he tells unsettling tales of seasonal spooks, winter wraiths and Christmas horrors. The virtual events will take place on YouTube from 7pm to 8pm. Tickets are £6 plus booking fee – available from https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/more-ghost-stories-for-christmas-online-presentation-tickets-132043306083
- Activities for children. These online offerings include colouring-in sheets, an Ozzy The Owl Christmas card design, a winter trail, and instructions for how to make a robin finger puppet and a Nutcracker soldier. There are also recipes for making Rudolph cupcakes and coconut Christmas tree fancies. Available via the website at https://www.stokemuseums.org.uk/pmag
- Christmas exhibitions online. Information from a previous Winter Wonderland display - featuring ceramics inspired by winter – is available on the website. There is also last year’s Through The Wardrobe display, inspired by the stories of Narnia.
- PMAG Advent Calendar. This online project features museum objects and each day you can open the door to see the latest treasure. Available via the website.
- 12 Days of Christmas. Information about items from the museum’s collections that are linked to the 12 Days of Christmas song. Available via the website.
- Exploring the Potteries: Christmas. Find records from the archives that are linked to the festive season. Available via the website.
For more, please visit https://www.stokemuseums.org.uk/pmag and follow the museum on social media.
Gladstone Pottery Museum
- Call and collect gift shop service. Choose from a wide range of items online and call the museum on 01782 237777 to order, pay and arrange a safe location to collect outside the museum. Staff also offer a post and package service for customers living outside the local area. There are a wide range of gifts including pottery produced at the museum such as hand-painted figures and mugs, bone china flowers and flower jewellery. There are also cards, artwork, textiles, ceramics and more. Many items are unique to the shop.
- Doors of Gladstone Advent Calendar. Each day a short video shows a real door opening to reveal one of the fantastic parts of the museum. The virtual tour also includes fascinating information about each location.
- 12 Kilns of Christmas. These social media updates feature beautiful artwork and gifts from the museum shop which celebrate the iconic Stoke-on-Trent bottle kilns.
For more, please visit https://www.stokemuseums.org.uk/gpm and follow Gladstone Pottery Museum on social media.
- Click, Call and Collect. Stoke-on-Trent libraries are temporarily closed for browsing due to current Covid restrictions – but you can still borrow books using the click, call and collect service. Choose your books using the Libraries Online service via stoke.gov.uk/libraries or call a library and ask staff to select books for you. You will then receive a date and time to collect your books in a covid-secure way. Visit https://www.stoke.gov.uk/clickcallcollect
- Christmas book bundles. Our libraries are making Christmas reading for children easy with new Christmas book bundles. There's no need to trawl through the online catalogue for great books - simply request a hand-picked bundle from your library and use the Click, Call and Collect service to get them. Call your local library for more information.
- Stoke-on-Trent Libraries online advent calendar. This is uploaded daily via Facebook - /stokeontrentlibraries – with videos, book suggestions and more behind every door.
- Festive Singing Bears. Tuesday, December 15, Tuesday, December 22 and Tuesday, December 29 – online live at 10.30am. Join our librarian on Facebook for some fun songs and rhymes with a Christmas twist.
- LEGO Challenge. Saturdays, December 19 and 26. Join in the latest Lego challenge from 11am on Facebook.
- A Crafty Christmas. Sunday, December 20 at 9am - one of our librarians shows you how to make a Christmas candle. Available via Facebook.
- A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Monday, December 21 to Christmas Eve. Each evening at 6pm librarian Chris will read one chapter of the famous Christmas story. Available via Facebook.
- The Night Before Christmas. Thursday, December 24 at 10.30am. The story will be read by librarian Chris. Available via Facebook.
Christmas shoppers looking for gifts online are also being encouraged to buy from local businesses and help Stoke-on-Trent’s stores, venues and attractions. Visit Stoke - Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Visitor Economy Team - has set up a web page at visitstoke.co.uk that lists a range of ways shoppers can buy locally-produced Christmas gifts. The ‘Tis The Season To Support Local’ section includes information about Stoke-on-Trent businesses including visitor attractions, cultural venues, art galleries, pottery studios, sports merchandise stores and gift shops. For more information, go to https://www.visitstoke.co.uk/