23/04/2014 - Permalink

Successful Easter weekend for new Museum

Related topics: Leisure, culture and heritage

An estimated 3,000 visitors passed through the doors of the new Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery over the Easter weekend.

Only a few weeks into its opening the museum is already attracting visitors from around the world, including from Sweden, Germany, Israel, the USA, Chile and Australia.

The estimated figure includes visitors attending the Museum & Art Gallery including the Frank Cohen exhibition, as well as the many other facilities at the museum, such as the café, visitor information centre, Roman Gallery and Pre-historic Gallery.

Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, owned and managed by Shropshire Council, opened on 1 April 2014, following extensive and ground-breaking restoration work.   The restoration project has seen two buildings – Shrewsbury’s Victorian Music Hall and the 13th century Vaughan’s Mansion – renovated and restored to create a vast new museum and spectacular gallery space, together with function rooms suitable for meetings, conferences and even weddings.

The new museum houses a vast collection of exhibitions, exploring subjects from geology to natural history via art, archaeology and costume.

Louise Cross, Shropshire Council’s visitor economy service manager, said:-

“We’ve had some really positive feedback from visitors.  One visitor said ‘the museum is a wonderful addition to Shrewsbury and would recommend it to friends, relations and any visitor to the town’.”

Tina Woodward, Shropshire Council’s deputy Cabinet member for visitor economy, added:-

“Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery has enjoyed a fantastic Easter weekend, with numbers looking very promising.  There has been a constant flow of visitors and the reaction has been excellent.  This is great news for the museum, and a credit for all the hard work and dedication so many people have given to this remarkable project.  The renovation of Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery has been an extremely important project for Shrewsbury and for Shropshire, and we look forward to continuing to welcome visitors to this new and exciting landmark attraction.”

The Easter Trail, which runs all week, has been really popular and a big hit with young children.  There are six chicks hiding in the museum; young visitors can collect their free trail on entry, and return to collect their chocolate prize after they have completed the trail.

Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery is also offering free children’s drop-in cartoon drawing sessions on Wednesday 23 April and Thursday 24 April to coincide with Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival.

Further information

Visitors to the new Museum & Art Gallery will go on a journey of discovery starting in the time when mammoths roamed, unlocking stories from across the entire county of Shropshire; stories of discovery and engineering creativity that influenced the world.  The entire collection has been reimagined for a modern audience, with exhibitions exploring subjects from geology to natural history via art, archaeology and costume.

The Museum holds some of the nation’s most treasured Roman artefacts, including an ornate silver mirror discovered at nearby Wroxeter, one of only a handful still existing from the period.  The Medieval galleries explore the development of castles, abbeys and towns in Shropshire.  The Civil War period gallery highlights visits by King Charles I to the county with a grim reminder of his execution.

In the Shropshire Gallery there are many special exhibits including an area about scientist Charles Darwin, who was born and educated in Shrewsbury, as well as his contemporaries such as Henry Blunt, who mapped the moon.

The links between the special geology of Shropshire and its famed ceramics industry see wonderful fossils displayed close to a collection of richly illustrated examples from the Caughley porcelain factory, which was once located near Broseley.

An exhibition from Frank Cohen’s internationally acclaimed collection of contemporary art, specially curated for the launch, is also on show.