It was my parents who first found Stockport Museum, then called the Story Museum. Every few weeks they travel the 200+ miles between their home and ours and take our children out for the afternoon. They usually stay local and on one of their outings, they came across Stockport Museum. That was several years ago now and we have since enjoyed many trips to this local gem.
Stockport Museum is in the heart of the town adjacent to the historic marketplace. It showcases a comprehensive history of life in Stockport, from Palaeolithic times to the present day. The museum shares an entrance with Staircase House, Stockport’s oldest townhouse, which contains a fantastic journey through a 15th-century Stopfordian household (a blog post on the latter is in the works!).
Here are some of our favourite things about Stockport Museum.
The family gallery
The museum underwent a renovation a few years ago and added a family gallery. This dedicated area on the fourth floor contains toys, drawing materials, storybooks, dressing-up costumes, a fantastic pretend shopfront, cushions for reclining on, a shadow theatre, and even strange small animal skeletons (what children’s area would be complete without them?).
We usually head straight for the gallery when we visit so that the children can roam freely while we parents sit on the little stools and chat. My children’s current favourite activities here are the Lowry magnetic picture, the mini shopping trolley, and the surprisingly realistic dog/bear costume.
Giant dice with photos of some of the exhibited objects encourage visitors to explore the gallery to locate the item. There are changing displays of construction toys like K’Nex for children to play with – it’s fun to play in such an interesting setting!
Eldest shows his K’Nex creation
The first gallery visitors come to focuses on Paleolithic life and includes lots of archaeological finds. Perhaps the most fascinating of these are two skeletons from the prehistoric age, which I believe were found in Mellor. They are in remarkably good condition and are incredibly interesting to look at. During one school holiday, we listened to a local archaeologist talk about how much they could tell about the couple just from their skeletons. The children were enthralled, and so was I!
Focus on families
Stockport Museum’s design has a lot to appeal to younger visitors. There is a space to sit and rest or snack on the third floor (next to the main entrance), which also houses art and craft activities during school holidays. The staff are friendly and helpful, often stopping to engage with visitors. Children love the many interactive exhibits and can find toys, games, and colouring sheets in most galleries.
We have been taking our children to the museum since they were three and zero, and four years later they still discover something new each time we visit.
The museum shop by the entrance is a treasure trove for kids. It’s full of pocket money toys, local history books and gifts. Stockport Museum is free to visit, so I am usually willing to part with £1.50 so each of our children can choose something to take home. Perusing the displays is most of the fun, as they are packed with brightly-coloured small bits and bobs. We’ve had bouncy balls, foam gliders, marbles, magnets, and more!
Find out more
Stockport Museum: https://www.stockport.gov.uk/topic/stockport-museum
Information on all museums in Stockport: https://www.stockport.gov.uk/topic/museums