Swindon's Steam Museum to host a variety of fun events for the family this Easter period

By Jessica Durston - 17 March 2023

  • An image taken at Steam's Air Raid Shelter experience

    An image taken at Steam's Air Raid Shelter experience

This Easter, the team at Steam Museum are inviting locals to visit the heritage attraction and enjoy a programme of seasonal events.

A new exhibition covering female pioneers in railway engineering, an air raid shelter experience and an opportunity to climb aboard Swindon-built GWR locomotives are just some of the activities on offer for families at Steam over the Easter holidays.

A spokesperson for the musuem said: "Steam – Museum of the Great Western Railway, tells the story of the men and women who built, operated and travelled on the Great Western Railway, a network that, through the vision and genius of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, set the standard for rail travel."

A brand-new special exhibition programme for 2023 entitled ‘Great Women’s Railway’ explores the important contribution which women made to the Great Western Network. The first exhibition, entitled 'In a Man’s World'  will open on Saturday, 1 April.

'In a Man’s World' aims to give a voice to four female pioneers in railway engineering. Films produced in partnership with Prime Theatre, supported by Wiltshire Community Foundation and Arts Council England, will be played in two of Steam’s exhibition areas.

In these films, actors have worked to bring the stories of Elsie Winterton, Hettie Bussell, Sarah Guppy and Karen Harrison to life in dramatic narratives explaining their contribution to science and engineering.

Spanning a period of 150 years, the films examine the trials and tribulations which the four women experienced working within a world dominated by men and how they overcame them. Previously unseen objects from the Steam collection will put their lives into context.

On Wednesday 5 - 12 April, Steam will be opening its reconstructed Air Raid Shelter to the public for the very first time. The Air Raid Warden will be sounding the warning siren and ushering visitors to safety.

The museum's spokesperson added: "Visitors can discover an incredible collection of original Second World War objects and ephemera as they experience the dark and cramped conditions of the shelter.

"They will also learn how people passed the time and kept morale high by trying their hand at identifying the British and enemy aeroplanes, while the noise of the Blitz raged on. The experience is suitable for those aged seven and over and is included with museum admission. Reservations should be made online."

Steam’s fortnightly Meet the Railway Workers experience will also return on Saturday, 1 - 15 April. Hosted by the museum’s friendly and knowledgeable volunteers, this activity will offer visitors the chance to enjoy guided tours of Steam and climb aboard iconic Swindon-built locomotives, including: No. 3717 City of Truro, No. 6000 King George V and No. 2818.

Throughout the Easter holidays, families are invited to take part in a special adventure through the museum with a new White Rabbit Pocket Watch Trail. Families can help the white rabbit find his eight timepieces that have been lost in Steam as they spend time exploring the displays. Trails are suitable for all ages.

Cllr Matty Courtliff, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Heritage, Leisure and Town Centre Experience, said: “With such a great range of educational activities taking place over Easter, a visit to Steam is a exciting way for all of the family to step back in time and experience Swindon’s rich history.

"Steam brings the Swindon story to life with immersive and interactive reconstructions, so you can have a go at driving the steam-train simulator, get up close to Swindon-built locomotives and even take part in the Air Raid Shelter experience. What’s more, all activities over Easter are included as part of the museum admission.”

Tickets are available through Steam's website at: www.steam-museum.org.uk

Members of the public can also follow the Museum on Facebook and Instagram (@SteamMuseum), or Twitter (@Steam_Museum).

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