From July 1 and throughout July, West Cheshire Museums and its partners will stage a spectacular sustainability festival at its four museum sites*. The aim of ‘Festival of the Future – The Big Sustainability Festival’ is to entertain families at the same time as encouraging sustainable everyday habits.
Inspired by #PlasticfreeJuly, the exciting and diverse events include a touring eco exhibition; circus performances; eco storytelling, an open mic night and TED-style sustainability talks as well as a children’s competition, clothes swap events and numerous workshop activities and artisan fairs. At the end of the festival, there will even be two free country dancing ‘eco ceilidhs’. All activities are free, but some will require booking*. In all cases, the activities are not dependent on paying to enter the museum (where applicable). For further information, go to www.westcheshiremuseums.co.uk
West Cheshire Museums is grateful for funding and sponsorship from Arts Council England, Stagecoach, Encirc, Big Heritage, Eco Communities and the Stubbs Trust.
During July, each of the four museums – Grosvenor Museum; Stretton Watermill, Lion Salt Works Museum and Weaver Hall Museum – will host a touring ‘eco’ exhibition designed by West Cheshire Museums. Featuring historic items from its collection the exhibition will tell a compelling eco story, showing how people in the past led very sustainable lives. Virtual reality technology will show what the future might look like if humanity continues its disposable ‘one-use’ lifestyle.
Each venue will feature ‘Earth Giants’ created by students from Cheshire College in conjunction with Chester artist, Russell Kirk. The aim is to show that big issues, like climate change, requires ‘Big Thinking’.
Chester’s Grosvenor Museum, 27 Grosvenor Street, Chester CH1 2DD
On 9 July, between 10.30am – 9pm an action-packed programme of events will include:
- 30-minute free talks on environmental issues such as Zero Waste on a Budget (Eco Communities) ‘Fork to Plate’ (Cheshire Archives); An Introduction to the Chester Hydro Hub (Hydro Hub); and a fascinating talk by Sick to Death
- Clothes swap workshop -the latest in a highly successful series run by West Cheshire Museums
- Fun and free Open Mic night staged by Eco Communities from 7- 9pm, where members of the public are encouraged to give short, creative responses to climate change. Booking is required by phoning the museum on 01244 972197 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Prize-giving for West Cheshire Libraries’ and West Cheshire Museums’ School Competition, where through drawing, painting, writing, poetry and collage pupils gave their feedback on the pressing question: ‘What will the world look like in 25 years’ time?’
- Also, on 9 July (10.30am to 4pm) just around the corner from the Grosvenor Museum at St Mary’s Centre (St Mary’s Hill, Chester, CH1 2DW) – there is a thought-provoking artisan fair, featuring a range of small businesses providing among other things, alternatives to ‘single use’ items and beautiful items created from materials that would otherwise go into landfill.
Lion Salt Works Museum, Ollershaw Lane, Northwich CW9 6ES
On 23 July, between 10.30am to 5pm, in addition to the arrival of the ‘Earth Giants’, the day will feature a series of action-packed events.
Locally based, professional performers – Barnton Circus – will entertain with exciting outdoor ‘climate change’ aerial acrobatic performances, inspired by the Museum’s Collections. Visitors, young and old, will also have a chance to master circus skills at workshops taking place throughout the day. In addition, everyone will have the opportunity to see the West Cheshire Museums’ touring eco story exhibition.
There will be an artisan fair, featuring small businesses selling alternatives to ‘single use’ items and goods that have been creatively recycled, visitors can take part in the free events on a drop-in basis. Visitors are also encouraged to bring along plants from their garden to trade and so increase biodiversity. There is no requirement to pay to see the museum’s collection to take part in all the free activities. Parking is free and there is a free industrially themed play area on site, as well as a beautiful butterfly garden. Visitors can also enjoy the café and Gift shop.
On 30 July, the Big Sustainability Festival will have a spectacular free finale with two indoor, foot-stomping ‘eco’ ceilidh from 4pm- 6pm and 7.30pm – 9.30pm This event will be suitable for the whole family – even those with no experience of Scottish country dancing will soon want to join in. Booking is required by calling the museum on 01606 275066.
Weaver Hall Museum and Workhouse, 162 London Road, Northwich CW9 8AB
On 23 July, between 10.30am – 5pm, Northwich’s Weaver Hall Museum will host a series of diverse eco events. There will be an artisan craft fair as well as a Clothes Swap Event and an upcycling clothes workshop. The festival’s huge ‘Earth Giants’, made by Cheshire College students, will also make an appearance during the day to remind everyone that climate change requires ‘big thinking’. Visitors are encouraged to ‘make a day of it’ and visit the nearby Lion Salt Works Museum and all its eco activities – just 2.1 miles away. A walking trail between the two museums will be available. Free parking is also available on site.
Stretton Water Mill, Stretton, Malpas SY14 7JA
On 16 July, between 10.30am – 5pm, the beautiful rural setting of the mill will be overrun with action, colour and sound. Free events include:
- Family-friendly eco-storytelling and workshops with environmental specialist, Creeping Toad
- Biodiversity workshops, where people can learn how to protect the wildlife in their gardens, including making their own birdseed.
- Visitors are encouraged to bring a picnic and a rug and enjoy the beauty of the Mill.
Free parking is available on site.
Councillor Leader Louise Gittins, “This fun, exciting sustainability festival is full of imaginative and different events and will be a great way of entertaining children, at low cost, during the summer holiday. But it has a serious purpose. We hope it will inspire and empower everyone to put the environment at the forefront of their mind and make the changes that collectively will make a huge difference to the climate worldwide. We would like to make this an annual celebration of climate awareness, which can grow and develop over time. I would encourage everyone to make a note of the dates of these free events, so that they don’t miss out.”