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Have a MAD Weekend!

Photos courtesy of Rob Tysall and the MAD Museum. 


Pic ft mechanical spider by Steve Sherwin
5 ft mechanical spider by Steve Sherwin

Ann Evans shares the great news that Stratford-upon-Avon’s award-winning MAD Museum is once again open to the public.

The MAD Museum in Stratford-upon-Avon has finally opened its doors to the public again after being forced to close for almost four months due to the Covid19 pandemic. The museum located in Henley Street, just a few minutes’ walk from William Shakespeare’s birthplace re-opened on 2nd August. It will be open on Saturdays and Sundays through September and early October but be sure to pre-book first. It remains open all week for pre-arranged educational school visits. Then, from 17th October – 1st November it will be open every day.


Pic MAD Museum founder Richard Simmons and Swiss kinetic sculptor Pascal Bettex
 MAD Museum founder Richard Simmons and Swiss kinetic sculptor Pascal Bettex

The MAD Museum features over 90 pieces of kinetic art and automata which have been created by innovative artists from all around the world. And while you will be amazed by the crazy, quirky, unique exhibits, MAD actually stands for Mechanical Art and Design. The museum has the most fascinating collection of ingenuous inventions, often beautifully crafted, which rock, roll, spin, open, close, mesmerise and intrigue.


Pic Platform Lift by Keith Newstead
 Platform Lift by Keith Newstead

The museum is the brainchild of Kenilworth man Richard Simmons. Richard has always been fascinated by how things work and loves to see how mechanical parts interact with one another. Creating a museum to showcase these things has been his lifelong dream.

As a trained chartered surveyor turned property developer and online entrepreneur, he finally decided he would create his museum. So, in 2012, with the help of his family, and in particular his son Iain and nephew Mike Abbotts they gathered together a team dedicated to turning that dream into reality, creating the amazing MAD Museum.

Richard said: “I want kids to put down their mobiles and get inspired by interacting with engineering and design.”


Pic Peter Markeys deliberately simple wooden automata
 Peter Markeys deliberately simple wooden automata

After finding the right location for the museum, Richard displayed pieces of kinetic art that he’d collected over the years as well as building up an impressive line-up of resident artists. Plus, he also creates his own inventions. Artists come from all over the world: the UK, Holland, Poland, Switzerland, Germany, France, China and the USA. Notably amongst them, Frederick Rowland Emett OBE who created eight machines for the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang film starring Dick Van Dyke. Also, Pascal Bettex who last year created the Shakespeare-themed kinetic art sculpture in a telephone box for the MAD Museum which is on view further along Henley Street.


Pic Mechanical Dinasaur Head by Jim Bond
Mechanical Dinasaur Head by Jim Bond

The museum is normally a highly interactive visitors’ attraction, but in the current climate where we are told not to touch anything, Richard and the team have made quite a few changes to maximise the safety of visitors and staff. Sadly, some exhibits are temporarily off limits, but they have opened up some previously unavailable space for some brand-new exhibits. One being an incredible 5ft mechanical spider, created by one MAD’s resident artists, Steve Sherwin. There’s also a fantastic piece of automata by artist Wanda Sowry. Entitled ‘Self Portrait’ it actually features the artist herself at work. And the museum is displaying a brand-new piece of Shakespeare themed automata by artist Yuri Sharov.


Pic Cat on a Bicycle by Keith Newstead
Pic Cat on a Bicycle by Keith Newstead

The museum is the only permanent venue for mechanical art in the country and was voted the ‘Best Museum in Warwickshire’ on Trip Advisor. It’s the perfect family attraction, don’t forget to book your tickets.


The MAD Museum
4-5 Henley Street
Stratford upon Avon
CV37 6PT

For more details and to book tickets, please go to:  https://themadmuseum.co.uk/





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