Fashion, art, history and more - Amy Moore highlights an exciting selection of new exhibitions at some of the UK’s most group-friendly museums and galleries.

Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery

A new exhibition at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery opens on February 8, and runs until June 4, 2016.

Valhalla at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery will see Viking artefacts from burial sites around the UK

Valhalla at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery will see Viking artefacts from burial sites around the UK

Valhalla – Life and Death in Viking Britain is a touring exhibition from the Jorvik Centre in York and features artefacts discovered at burial sites, key findings from archaeologists and the latest research into the lives of our Viking ancestors.

Valhalla comes from the Old Norse meaning ‘the hall of the fallen,’ and is the location where Odin houses the dead he deems worthy of dwelling with him. The exhibition will include recent evidence supporting the Vikings’ beliefs in the afterlife and how they commemorated and celebrated their dead.

Using the Hungate and Coppergate excavations from York, the exhibition will include objects from working and domestic life, replica objects from boat burials and skeletal remains. Some of the Vikings findings made in the county, including silver coinage and jewellery, will also be on display.

Emma-Kate Lanyon, Team Leader (Collections and Curatorial Services) at Shropshire County Council, says: “The stories and legends surrounding the Vikings have long captivated our imagination, so I know that visitors are going to find this a very exciting exhibition.

Valhalla will bring together items of incredible historic significance and modern tools of analysis so that visitors will get a unique insight into the lives of these warriors for whom death, as well as the ceremonies and traditions surrounding it, were central.”

Special group admission rates are valid for parties of 12 or more. For more information visit


Science Museum, London

The Science Museum, London’s new exhibition, Leonardo: The Mechanics of Genius opens on February 10, running to September 4, 2016.

Using close observation and taking inspiration from the natural phenomena around him, Leonardo da Vinci created a body of mechanical drawings that showed a radical approach to the challenges of flight, manufacturing and war. The Mechanics of Genius takes the machines that Leonardo drew, and interprets them in three-dimensional form, alongside interactive games and multimedia installations.

The exhibition will see 39 historical models including flying machines, driving apparatus and weapons put on display, all of which were made in Milan in 1952 in celebration of the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s birth.

Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum, says: “Leonardo da Vinci is one of history’s greatest independent thinkers, whose determination to imagine the world anew inspired humankind for generations and will continue to do so for generations to come.

We hope this unique exhibition helps our visitors to understand more about his skilled and innovative approach to engineering and to be inspired to look afresh at the world around them.”

For groups of 10-plus, call 020 7942 4000, or for more information visit


Brighton Museum & Art Gallery

Fashion Cities Africa

April 30-January 8, 2017

The first major UK exhibition dedicated to contemporary African fashion will be held at the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery between April 2016 and January 2017. The exhibition will explore practises of dress, fashion and styling in four African cities: Casablanca, Lagos, Nairobi and Johannesburg. Groups of 15-plus cost £4 per person. For more information visit


American Air Museum

The American Air Museum will reopen at the Imperial War Museum Duxford on Wednesday, March 16, 2016, following five years of redevelopment. Here, groups will be able to see displays of historic aircraft, new interactive technologies and personal testimonies that tell the story of Anglo-American co-operation in modern conflict. Groups must book in advance by filling in an online booking form ( For more information visit


Geffrye Museum

Swept Under The Carpet? is a new exhibition opening at the Geffrye Museum on March 15, which will explore the experiences of servants living and working in middle-class homes over the last 400 years.

Running through to September 4, 2016, new scenarios and subtle changes in the museum’s period rooms will illustrate the changing nature of the servants work and the evolving relationship between master and servant.

Swept Under The Carpet? is guest curated by Tessa Chynoweth and Laura Humphreys, AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award researchers from the Centre of Studies of Home; a partnership between the Geffrye Museum and Queen Mary, University of London. A full programme of events and talks will accompany the exhibition. Entrance to the museum is free. For more information visit


Tate Britain

Painting with Light: Art and Photography from the Pre-Raphaelites to the Modern Age is scheduled to run at Tate Britain from May 11 to September 25, 2016.

Spanning 75 years, the exhibition will showcase nearly 200 works, including the first explorations of movement and illumination by David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson.

Highlights include examples of three-dimensional photography, which incorporates the use of models and props to re envision well-known pictures. Carol Jacobi, Curator British Art 1850-1915 at Tate Britain, says: “Painting with Light offers new insights into Britain’s most popular artists and reveals just how vital painting and photography were to one another. Their conversations were at the heart of the artistic achievements of the Victorian and Edwardian era.”

Painting with Light will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue and a programme of talks and events. Tickets cost from £16. For more information on group rates call 020 7887 8888, or visit


Lotherton Hall

Our Cousin Florence is a new exhibition set to open at Lotherton Hall in Leeds on March 18, running until December 31, 2016.

Lotherton Hall was the home of Florence’s cousin Marianne’s youngest daughter, Gwendolen Gascoigne, and was the place Marianne retreated to following the death of her husband - Sir Douglas Galton - in 1899.

Marianne Galton's box, which held previously undiscovered letters and sketchbooks belonging to Florence Nightingale. LEEDS MUSEUMS & GALLERIES

Marianne Galton's box, which held previously undiscovered letters and sketchbooks belonging to Florence Nightingale. LEEDS MUSEUMS & GALLERIES

The batch of newly discovered archive material belonged to Marianne. Items on display include paintings, childhood sketches, jewellery, and the desk that belonged to Florence Nightingale.

Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council, says: “This exhibition will offer a fascinating insight into one of British history’s most respected figures, whose compassion and selflessness have quite rightly seen her reach iconic status.

“It’s a real privilege for Leeds that Florence Nightingale has such strong ties to the city, and I’m sure this new material will help give visitors a fresh perspective on the character of a young woman who grew to become the famous Lady With The Lamp.”

Images of Florence Nightingale. LEEDS MUSEUMS & GALLERIES

Images of Florence Nightingale. LEEDS MUSEUMS & GALLERIES

Lotherton Hall is home to the Leeds Museum and Galleries extensive fashion and textiles collection. A single entrance price allows access to the house, in addition to its extensive grounds. Reduced entry is available for pre-booked groups of 15 or more.

To book call 0113 378 2959 or email For more information visit


Kensington Palace

Fashion Rules: Restyled re-opens at Kensington Palace from February 11 with an updated version of the exhibition and new interpretation to offer visitors a fresh experience.

Norman Rogul for Princess Margaret, 1950s, exhibited at Kensington Palace from February 11.

Norman Rogul for Princess Margaret, 1950s, exhibited at Kensington Palace from February 11.

An all-new dress display will focus on different periods in the wardrobes of HM The Queen, Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales. Outfits specially created for Princess Margaret in the 1950s will be put on display, alongside accessories from Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Dior. The display will continue to explore how these women navigated the fashion ‘rules’ defined by their royal duties and unique style.

Stephen Weber, Creative Programming and Interpretation Manager, says: ‘Fashion Rules has proven incredibly popular with our visitors, and we’re delighted to be able to expand on this theme to celebrate the style evolution of three incredible modern royal women.

The new display will delve deeper into the royal wardrobe, revealing some real surprises that I hope will challenge the way we think of royal style.”

Groups of 15-plus will need to book a timed entry slot in advance, and will receive a welcome from one of the Palace Explainers upon arrival. To book call 0844 482 7770. Enhance your group’s visit with Morning Tea in the elegant Orangery Restaurant, available between 10am and 12pm. To book call 0203 166 6112 or email

For more information on future events and exhibitions for 2016 and beyond at Kensington Palace, contact the Groups & Travel Trade Department on 0203 166 6311 or email

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