Museum activities move online during lockdown

Small Green Jungle automata by Peter Markey

Small Green Jungle automata by Peter Markey - Credit: Steve Tanner 2017

Museum activities have moved online in St Albans while the venues remain closed due to coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

St Albans Museums curators are offering a new way for audiences to engage with the collections and exhibitions while the buildings are shut by hosting a series of online talks and workshops for all ages.

Councillor Anthony Rowlands, St Albans council's portfolio holder for leisure, heritage and the public realm, said: “When everyone is being encouraged to stay at home, it is more important than ever that there are things to keep our minds active and engaged."

Kicking off the museums’ talk series will be curator David Thorold, who shares his knowledge of the Roman Coins of Verulamium.

Join him for a digital session on February 3 to discover the significance of the Roman coins on display. He will explore how coins were used not only for payment but also as a source of propaganda and news of the Roman Empire.

Another online talk in the coming months is Automata and the Artists on February 10.

Baba Yaga’s House – an automaton by Keith Newstead, part of the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre collection, on display at St...

Baba Yaga’s House – an automaton by Keith Newstead, part of the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre collection, on display at St Albans Museum + Gallery. - Credit: Supplied by St Albans Museums

This will be a discussion with the director of Cabaret Mechanical Theatre, the company behind St Albans Museum + Gallery's latest automata exhibition.

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Audiences will learn more about these eye-catching and humorous moving objects, have a peek behind the scenes of the exhibition, and learn about the artists behind the work on display.


Barecats by Cabaret Mechanical Theatre. - Credit: © Cabaret Mechanical Theatre 2007

In March, there will be a panel discussion with members of the local Jewish community who have been working on an exhibition to go on display at St Albans Museum + Gallery.

At a time when a sense of ‘home’ is more important than ever, the panel will share stories of how they made St Albans their home, bringing to life universal themes of roots, community and work.

For those looking for something interactive to do, families can spend time together making wonderful creations inspired by the museums' exhibitions.

The museums service is also launching a series of online workshops where expert facilitators will help you to get your creative juices flowing, dreaming up creatures and characters that will form your own automaton or create colourful recycled collage artworks.

The fun isn’t just for families either, the museum is also running one of its automata workshops just for adults.

Cllr Rowlands added: "These events provide an excellent opportunity to expand your knowledge and get creative from the comfort of your sofa."

For details of all the events, as well as prices and how to book, visit the St Albans Museums website at

Cabaret Mechanical Marvels is a touring exhibition produced by Cabaret Mechanical Theatre. Visit for more details.

Although St Albans Museum + Gallery is currently closed in the city centre, the exhibition is due to be on display until June 27, 2021, so will be available to visit as soon as the museum is permitted to reopen.

St Albans Museums manages St Albans Museum + Gallery, Verulamium Museum, the Hypocaust, the medieval Clock Tower, Sopwell Ruins, and the thousands of objects in the city’s collection.