Meet Egyptian mummies or get your fingers into forensics. Valerie Hall selects highlights from exhibitions around the country
NORTHERN IRELAND Ulster Museum, Belfast
Marvel at the pincer power of a stag beetle and recoil at a sucking fly at the Monster Creepy Crawlies exhibition until November 5. Among the exhibits are giant models 300 times life size and a live insect zoo with leafcutter ants, tarantulas and crickets. Activities include seeing like a fly, crawling down ant tunnels, and talks and workshops on beetles, bugs, slugs and snails.
Details: 01232 381251 ext 207.
WALES Lloyd George Museum, Caernarvon
Celebrate Christmas the traditional Welsh way, learn to make illuminated Christmas messages and learn decorative penmanship. Traditional Easter activities and an arts project are planned for March 18-29.
Details: Mary Aris, 01286 67908895.
The Old Courthouse, BeaumarisBeaumaris Gaol At a crime and punishment through the ages arts project in January, pupils will make 3D life-size figures under the direction of artist Dylan Owen. From March 11 to 29, children can explore t Beaumaris Gaol and find out about punishment in Victorian times. The gaol is also holding a science week on the human animal on March 18-22.
Details: Mary Aris, 01286 67908895.
SCOTLAND Perth Museum and Art Gallery
To complement its permanent gallery on natural sciences in Perthshire, the museum has mounted a temporary exhibition until December 31. Topics include electricity, wind power, and extinction. Two-hour classes include skeletons and movements; dinosaurs; geology; and birds.
Details: Barbara Hamilton, 01738 632488.
Royal Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh
Power and Gold, an exhibition of jewellery from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, until November 12, reveals how jewellery denoted status, mediated between the human and spirit world, and united families and communities. From October 12 to January 14, the famous 12th-century Lewis chessmen will be on display. At the Heavenly Scent exhibition, March 2-April 21, visitors can test their nose for perfume and learn the history of scents and related artefacts such as bottles and advertising. There is an associated educational programme.
Details: Ewan Small, 0131 247 4267.
NORTHERN ENGLAND Warrington Museum and Art Gallery
L S Lowry: the man and his art, until November 13 features his work and includes industrial landscapes and street scenes. Try out Lowry's time, a hands-on investigation of artefacts followed by a drawing session, and explore the social history revealed by his art. Quiz sheets available.
Details: Maureen Draper, 01925 442392 ext 2395.
Monkwearmouth Station Museum, Sunderland A trip to the seaside, until November 26, takes a nostalgic look at Sunderland's busy tourist resorts, Roker and Seaburn, since the 1800s. It covers modes of travel, advertising posters, fun fairs, swimming costumes, saucy postcards, Punch and Judy and more and is suitable for key stages 12 history, science and English.
Details: Martin Routledge, 0191 565 0723.
The Hancock Museum, Barras Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne
Living history half days on Ancient Egypt, October 30-November 10 and February 26-March 15, will complement the permanent Land of the Pharoahs display. Peep inside an embalmer's tent, witness a robbed tomb, grind corn, learn how papyrus was made, and meet two mummies. Teachers' pack available. The Megabugs! exhibition, until October 31, features robotic and real insects. In November a new Living Planet gallery opens, where topics such as habitats, pollution and the water cycle can be investigated for key stage 23 science and geography.
Details: Gillian Mason, 0191 232 6789.
South Shields Museum and Art Gallery
Discover A north east childhood, until January 14, where children can crawl inside a fireplace to look up a claustrophobic, dirty chimney, or through a tight coal seam. Topics include birth and babycare, school, health and welfare, crime, gambling, drug abuse, children at work, home and family, and toys.
Details: Helen White, 0191 232 6789.
Derby Museum and Art Gallery, Industrial Museum and Pickford's House Museum
Choose from a comprehensive programme of free lessons for schools ranging from "Be a Georgian servant" and the Roman soldier to coal and lead mining and from life in the Second World War, to how animals prepare for winter. At Pickford's, Colours of the rainbow, an exhibition of colourful historic costume and accessories, is on all term and a display of historic kitchen items - Cooks' companions - until November 5. From November 11 to January 2, toys and games will be exhibited in All I want for Christmas.
Derby Industrial Museum's Images of industry: coal, until November 12, illustrates the vast range of buildings recorded by the Royal Commission on Historic Monuments . "BSA Gold Star", November 25-January 28, has bikes from the golden age of British riding, racing and rallying.
Coinciding with the 250th anniversary of Bonnie Prince Charlie's visit to Derby in December 1745, Derby Museums and Art Gallery's Bonnie Prince Charlie - fact and fiction runs until January 7.
Details: Sue Christian, 01332 255580.
Yorkshire Museum, York
Venom, an exploration of the biology and behaviour of deadly creatures, takes visitors on a journey beneath the sea and through a ruined temple in the jungle. Encounter rattlesnakes, hairy tarantulas, poison arrow frogs, stingrays and sea snakes and meet the venomologist. Until the end of October, schools can visit both Venom and the Roman Invaders and Settlers gallery. Free worksheets available.
Details: 01904 629745.
Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, Carlisle
From Romans to Reivers: the Birdoswald Story, until November 12, displays objects excavated from one of the large Roman forts attached to Hadrian's Wall. Groups can try being an archaeologist and attend sessions on Cumbrian natural history, the Romans, Middle Ages, and Victorians.
Details: Sandra Stancliffe, 01228 34781.
SOUTHERN ENGLAND LONDON Science Museum, London SW7?
The museum is launching a Pounds 3.5 million re-modelled education service. New facilities include four new interactive galleries: The Garden, a place of discovery for pre-school and key stage 1 pupils; Things, which enables seven to 11-year-olds to explore everyday objects in a new way; On Air, where older students take control of a radio studio; and The Secret Life of the Home, which is relevant for Victorian studies or the science of the home.
Details: 0171 938 8222.
Imperial War Museum, London SE1
The Channel Islands - occupation and liberation 1940-45 runs until November 29, and London at War until January 7, with related history evenings and holiday activities.
Details: 0171 416 5311.
British Museum, London WC1
Temporary displays at the British Museum include Chinese snuff bottles from the Mary and George Bloch collection, until October 15; German Renaissance prints 1490 -1550 until October 22; Renaissance medals and plaquettes from northern Europe until October 22 and Paper money in Scotland 1695-1995 until October 8. Details of these and the new gallery, The Hellenistic world: art and culture, on 0171 323 8525.
Somerset Rural Life Museum, Taunton
The wheel, until October 10, examines the history and development of one of the most important inventions and features hands-on scientific activities. Work the horse gear in the farm courtyard and investigate equipment from seed fiddles to spinning wheels. At Interpreting the Victorians sessions, role play as young people seeking employment, participate in domestic activities in a Victorian farmhouse, or listen to storytellers.
Details: Ann Heeley, 01458 831197.
Gosport Museum, Hampshire
SEARCH, a new hands-on centre in the old Grammar School building, has galleries devoted to science and history and is offering Insets and class visits for key stage 12 pupils on animals and classification, food chains and animal adaptations, skeletons and movement; and some trial sessions on Victorian Britain and Britain since 1930. Fee: Pounds 50 per group.
Details: 01705 501957.
Hampshire museums are running history and art workshops. History workshops will look at and record artefacts from museum collections and the art workshops will be based on a touring exhibition of portraits kicking off at Gosport Museum in January.
Details: Chris Elmer, 01256 332392 (history) and Susan Jessop, 01962 846313 (art).
Everything is not always as it seems at the Of monsters and miracles exhibition ending November 19. Experience mystery animals, UFO debris, fairy coffins, lake monsters and a touch screen computer programme that brings weird experiences to life. Pottery of West Africa also ends November 19 and coincides with Black History Month (October). Survey the scene of the crime at The Sherlock Holmes Experience, December 7-February 25, use your detection skills to find the villain, find out about Conan Doyle's links with the borough and the Victorian underworld, and learn about forensics and fingerprinting.
Details: Rosy Hayward, 0181 253 1023.