Families at the Barber

A room filled with children and people of all ages, some sitting and taking part in crafts, others standing and talking.

The Barber offers a range of activities for families to enjoy during their visit including a programme of creative events, as well an art trolley including free interactive resources and play objects to borrow and explore, housed in our foyer – find out more below.

Baby-changing facilities and buggy parking space are available on the ground floor, as well as lift access to all floors.

Please Note: All Barber galleries will close on 2 October 2023, remaining closed until Spring 2024 as we begin the first phase of a building improvement project. We will be back in late spring 2024 with an exciting new programme of family events.

Art Trolley

Look out for our new Art Trolley in the foyer. Borrow looking tools, handling objects and drawing materials to explore the galleries and create artworks.

All resources in the Art Trolley link to our collection displays and contains activities, objects and books related to the artworks. Enjoy drawing in the galleries, look at the artworks in new ways, feel objects and materials connected to artworks, or sit and read together.

The stations are designed to be suitable for all ages, and are available every Tuesday – Sunday.

A child sitting on a green mat crafting something.
Picture by Kate Green Photography

Explore the Archive


Summer Holiday 2023 - Barber Family Festival

In August 2023 families took over the Barber! We re-imagined our spaces, enjoying nature-inspired creativity and play.

From building a scrap sculpture garden, enjoying a family cinema with Flatpack and weaving wonders with artist Ruth Turnbull, to meeting intergalactic insects with Cloud Cuckoo Land and printing abstract forms from nature. The Woodland Tribe returned, helping families to construct a caterpillar play structure using wood and real tools.

Nature's Palette Session 1 - 29.06.23 (C) (22)

Pre-schooler Mornings with Georgina Barney

Led by artist Georgina Barney, families with pre-schoolers have enjoyed playing and experimenting with natural dyeing processes.

Most recently we unlocked secrets of colour in the collection, exploring pre-industrial methods. These workshops centre around the vibrant creativity and curiosity of very young children. We aim to create a nurturing, playful environment that helps build relationships for children, and for their adults.

This event took place in June - July 2023.

Lovely Bugs with Sam - 13.05.23 (C) (27)

Family Saturday Workshops

Exploring nature in the collection, families enjoyed a series of artist-led workshops across summer 2023.

Sam Krankpod led a clay workshop, with families sculpting and decorating miniature insects. Families got experimental with Fiona Cullinan, collaging their own hybrid beasts inspired by animals at the Barber. We created memories of our gallery visit, as Mengxia Liu led a bag and badge design workshop.

These events took place May - July 2023

Barber Home

Our collection...your place. Projects to do from your kitchen table.

images from sarah (1)

Zine-making with Sarah Taylor Silverwood

Inspired by Adriaen van Ostade’s drawing The Child and The Doll, join artist Sarah Taylor Silverwood to make a zine and reflect on time spent with your family, whoever and wherever they may be.

Find out more here

Jo Gane camera obscura

Create a Camera Obscura with Jo Gane

Explore our online exhibition Sights of Wonder by learning more about the Victorian photography of Francis Bedford. Bedford was the first photographer to ever accompany a royal tour. He photographed temples, pyramids, and people along the way.

Find out more here

Benny Semp St Ives

St Ives Scrap Sculptures with Benny Semp

Inspired by our previous temporary exhibition Cornwall as Crucible?

Learn about the materials and techniques used by artists such as Barbara Hepworth, turning household scrap into amazing sculptures!

Find out more here.

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