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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Speed

The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery

Updated: Apr 7, 2022

A breadth of history from ancient civilisations to modern local culture is on display at this mostly-accessible museum in the heart of Stoke-on-Trent.


Don't need accessibility info? Jump to The Visit to find out more about The Potteries.

Location


The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery Bethesda St

Hanley

Stoke-on-Trent

ST1 3DW





Access


Parking is available but limited to five disabled bays located behind the library, to the side of the museum, accessed via Warner Street. The museum also recommends disabled bays located on Albion Street and Bethesda Street.



The museum has level ramped access from the car park to street-level, level access to the entrance, and lifts to access ground and first floors. There is also a lift in the new Spitfire gallery to access the upper level of the exhibition, however, this was out of order on this occasion (staff assure me that it will be repaired soon), so I recommend calling before visiting to check this is working.

There is plenty of seating available as you explore the museum and galleries. Some of the galleries have low platforms which may prevent some visitors from being able to get a closer look at the items on display. Some doors have disabled access push buttons, but not all.


Facilities include accessible toilets and a cafe on-site. The cafe door does not have assisted opening but the cafe is spacious. The nearest Changing Places toilet is located at the nearby bus station.

The Visit


A favourite of mine, I have visited with my family many times and attended events here. With regularly changing exhibitions, there’s always something new to see, and the recent addition of the Spitfire gallery makes this a must-visit site for anyone interested in military history or World War II.

Fortunately, I had already visited the Spitfire gallery prior to this visit and had been able to access the whole exhibition, which includes a spitfire plane and artefacts and information relating to it and its designer, Staffordshire-born Reginald Joseph Mitchell.

There are some fascinating, beautiful, and unique items on display in the design, ceramics, local history, fine art, archaeology, and natural history galleries.



The highlight of the museum for me has to be the Staffordshire Hoard. Imagine the rapture detectorist Terry Herbert must have felt when he discovered the Anglo-Saxon treasure! There are some truly beautiful items from the hoard on display, plus a replica of the helmet. It’s impossible to get photographs that do the collection justice due to reflections in the glass of the cabinets, but I hope you’ll take my word for it when I say that this is truly worth a visit if you’re able to get there. Go on, glimpse into the world of the Anglo-Saxons of Mercia, it’s fascinating.



The art gallery is small but again has particular appeal for me as it includes a number of works by my favourite artist, L.S. Lowry. There’s plenty of variety despite its size, meaning most visitors will spot something that catches their eye.



Top Tips


  • Call ahead of visiting to check lifts are working if you require these


  • Take a look at a map of the area to familiarise yourself with parking options


  • Be aware that part of Bethesda Street is a bus lane


For More on the Site


For their accessibility information: https://www.stokemuseums.org.uk/pmag/accessibility-guide/

I would note that, though they state they are fully accessible, there were two raised platforms (one ramped but steep, one low-stepped) that were challenging for me on crutches and would benefit from wheelchair ramps to be truly fully accessible.



For more on the Staffordshire Hoard: http://www.staffordshirehoard.org.uk/


Final Note


With free admission and so much to see, and within reasonable travel distance, this is a site to which I'll return many times. Meanwhile, another castle visit will be my next outing.


Until then, happy travels!


*Disclaimer: This blog is written as a travel blog with a disability focus and history theme. It is intended to entertain and inform but is in no way a comprehensive guide and I do not attempt to provide a full accessibility guide for any site. Readers planning to visit any sites should check site websites or contact sites directly for up-to-date information on opening times, facilities, accessibility and other required information.


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