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The Ironbridge Gorge Museums will be taking part in this year’s Festival of Imagination, which runs from 14 to 29 September, with an array of special events and activities, many free.
Family Heritage Day at Coalbrookdale 15 September – Free activities
Sunday, 15 September is Family Heritage Day at the Museum’s Coalbrookdale site when you can explore Enginuity, the Museum of Iron for free at varying times between 10am and 4pm.
Go along to Enginuity, play with the huge exhibits and get up close to the Museum’s attempt to break the Guinness World Book of Records for building a bridge with the longest span from interlocking plastic bricks. The gigantic bridge, built in partnership with the Institute of Civil Engineers, has a record span of some 16.8m, is 34m long and contains just under 205,000 bricks.
Afterwards take part in a variety of family activities around the site at Coalbrookdale; try your hand at print, arts and crafts and circus skills workshops and see a spectacular sound and light installation at the Old Furnace. Bring your own rug and picnic to sit on the green or dine in the new Furnace Kitchen. Overseen by celebrity chef Marcus Bean, the restaurant offers an exciting mix of modern British cuisine and European classics; its open for morning coffee, brunch, lunch and afternoon tea.
Jackfield Tile Workshops – 16 and 20 September
Treat yourself to a hands-on tile decorating workshop at Jackfield Tile Museum and create your own ceramic masterpiece to take home. Your designs can be as colourful and original as your imagination allows. The Victorian tube lining technique will be used to decorate the tiles, which is just like icing a cake! Once you’ve piped on the design you can add colourful glazes, then leave your tile at the museum where it will be fired in a kiln to reveal the dazzling colours and posted to your home, or you can collect it from Jackfield if you live nearby. Tiles are at a special discount price for the festival starting at £5 each (p&p extra to have your tile sent home after firing). The hands-on sessions will take place between 10am and 12noon, allow 1½ hours to decorate your tile. No experience is needed and all ages are welcome.
Broseley Pipeworks Open Days – 18 and 22 September
Broseley Pipeworks offers a fascinating insight into the world of clay tobacco pipe making that once flourished in the historic town. Abandoned in the 1950s, the factory is now a wonderfully preserved time capsule that has changed little since the workers left. The Museum will be opening its doors out of normal hours on 18 and 22 September for guided tours at 10:30am, 12noon, 13:30pm and 15:00pm with places on a first come, first served basis. On 22 September only, you can watch a pipe making demonstration and discover more about how buildings of this nature are rescued by viewing original documents from the archaeology survey.
Coalport Experience Day – 17 and 19 September
Make your choice from two different immersive experiences at Coalport China Museum on 17 and 19 September. Try your hand at either slip casting or bone china flower making in the actual workshops where Coalport china was made; your masterpiece will be glazed and fired ready for collection two weeks later, or it can be posted to your home for a small charge. Both experiences include a curator led tour of the once world-famous factory to learn about its history and the many beautiful pieces made on the site.
Other events include a free to view exhibition at the Coalbrookdale Gallery; a film night in the Engine Shop at Enginuity on 26 September and two STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) based education events for students.
For more information visit www.ironbridge.org.uk and www.ironbridgefestival.co.uk
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