Tag Archives: History of museums

Zetland – the end of a journey

You’re never more than 3 hours away ( by car) from the sea in the British Isles, and it is to the coast I come for my final post. In small communities up and down the UK there are fishing museums, museums in lighthouses or coastal signal towers, and plenty of art galleries by the […]

The three York museums

There are three museums in the city of York: The Yorkshire Museum, York Castle Museum and the Yorvik Centre, and to some extent they represent the past, present and the possible future of museums. The Yorkshire Museum is old and was founded in 1830 by Yorkshire Philosophical Society to house their collection of geological and […]

War museums – the narrators of history

At the height of the First World War, Sir Alfred Mond MP, suggested to the then prime minister Lloyd George that a national war museum should be established. The war cabinet agreed. Mond travelled to the Western Front to study the best way to organise a collection based on war. And after a request from […]

V&A – all the arts

It’s our last trip down Exhibition Road in London, to the bottom corner, to the substantial building that was once known as the South Kensington Museum, then the Victoria and Albert Museum, and now simply the V&A. The V&A blurs the division between the already loose definitions of museum and gallery, it is both. It […]

Underground museums, the secret bunkers of Britain

Deep underground in Uxbridge is a museum. It didn’t begin life as a museum. It was dug out of the ground in 1938, by contractors, who were sworn to secrecy. The construction included pipework, electricity, telephone lines and sewers. The walls are made out of concrete, and a metre thick. Sitting above the ceiling is […]

Science Museum – the problem of storage

For my N post I mentioned a road in London, Exhibition Road, that has three national museums situated on it. Today, it is the turn of the Science Museum, which is half way down the street. This is probably my most personal post because many years ago as a student I spent a year working […]

Railway museums, the big and small

Railways were not invented in the 19th Century. If you consider a track made from timber, you have a railway. These kind of trackways have been found on the causeways of the Somerset Levels and dating to around 5000 years ago! Moving forward, miners used wagons drawn by animals on tracks in Cumbria during the […]

The Queen’s Gallery, the royal collections

There are thirteen royal residences, some lived in others not, and the Queen moves from one palace to another, and in her absence, these royal homes are opened and transformed temporarily into Art Galleries. As it happens the Royal Collection is the largest private art collection in the world. The collection is owned by the […]

Pottery museums – new and old

The Clean Air Act of 1956 banned the use of coal firing and resulted in the destruction of bottle ovens in many industrial potteries and the conversion of kilns to gas firing. It meant the end to many pottery sites, especially in Stoke on Trent. Staffordshire is a coal rich region; it also has plenty […]

The Old Operating Theatre Museum – with herbs

To be honest, there are some museums I might never want to visit. Mostly they represent the nastier side of human nature, like torture. So it is with some trepidation that I touch upon the Old Operating Theatre Museum in London. Exhibits of early surgical instruments bear a frightening resemblance to torture instruments.But let’s not […]

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