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It's beginning to look at lot like Christmas

Things have been pretty hectic here at NESM in the seven months since we reopened after the coronavirus lockdown. We launched a new exhibition, Daring Detectives & Dastardly Deeds, and an associated programme of talks and workshops; we revamped and relaunched our learning offer; our new Sensory Play sessions have proved very popular with our youngest visitors; we enjoyed a busy summer and even busier October half-term; and we launched another new exhibition, For King & Country. That's a lot of stuff in the bag since May! We might need a lie down...

Putting our feet up will have to wait for a little while longer though. Next weekend, on 11 and 12 December, we host our Wartime Christmas weekend. This has been one of the highlights of our calendar for a number of years, and one of our biggest and most profitable events. This year has special significance though. It's the first time in two years we've been able to host this fabulous festive feast (for obvious reasons) and it's the first major event we've held at the museum since before the pandemic. So we're pulling out all the stops to make it as amazing as we can. How amazing, I hear you ask? Well come with me and step back in time to the days of rationing, the blackout and the dulcet tones of Dame Vera Lynn....

For two days we transform our Victorian building into a fabulous 40s festive wonderland, packed with things to do, see and hear that all come together to create a truly immersive wartime Christmas. We dress the museum in best vintage style and all the members of #TeamNESM don their finest 40s fashions to get 'In the Mood' (little wartime music pun there) for the event. (I'll be honest, dressing up is definitely one of the perks of the job for someone who loves their fancy dress!)

Talking of wartime music, our museum will be filled with the sounds of 40s song thanks to the vocal talents of our friend Miss Marina Mae and, joining us for the first time this year, the Lahdidahs and Johnny Victory. They'll all be performing over the weekend and keeping our visitors royally entertained. Remember to bring your dancing shoes!

Our visitors can also get a taste of what a wartime Christmas was like in our Home Front zone, from festive feasts on the ration to Make-Do-and-Mend gifts. We'll be welcoming members of the Spirit of the Home Front group in this zone, who will be sharing some of their amazing exhibits and displays. They'll also be a chance to try your hand as a home front firefighter; have you got what it takes to join the volunteer ranks of the National Fire Service and help protect Britain from the Blitz?

We'll be playing host to some fantastic historical re-enactment groups who will share with our visitors what life was like away from home for those serving abroad, and presenting some amazing military displays. This year we'll be welcoming Axis-allied, Kampfgruppe Topf Living History Group, Sheffield Polar Bears WWII and We Stand Alone to the museum over the weekend.

Harris Hairdressing will also be joining us for the first time, giving visitors the chance to join in with the vintage dress-up with their own 40s hairstyle. Young visitors can also enjoy some festive crafts and, of course, it wouldn't be Christmas without the chance to visit Father Christmas in his grotto! Our ever-popular fire engine rides will also be running during the event.

And if you work up a thirst from all that, there's even a recreated 40s pub on site where you can enjoy a swift half, a tea or coffee. (There may even be some chocolate but sshh, that's strictly off the ration!)

We're really looking forward to this weekend and so, it seems, are plenty of other people! We've already sold almost 300 advance tickets with still a week to go, which is fantastic; we can't wait to welcome them all back to the 40s! If you want to join us, booking in advance is the only way to guarantee entry to the museum on the day. Found out more about this amazing event, and how to book, at We hope to see you there!

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