5 of the best – Free Museums

Written and researched by: @Tom_Ashurst and @richiewear13

NRM YorkAll aboard! Choo chooo… The National Railway Museum in York is the largest railway museum in the world; offering three giant halls packed full of incredible trains and interactive fun, this award-winning museum also has an exciting rolling programme of exhibitions running throughout the year. Their collection includes an incredible 1 million objects ranging from old school railway posters through to the engines themselves.

It’s hard not to be impressed by the magnificent machines on display as the sheer scale and size of them is truly amazing. My personal favourite? Well it has to be Mallard. Designed by Sir Nigel Gresley in 1938, Mallard broke the world speed record for steam locomotives, a record that has never been beaten. Incredible.

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National Media Museum BradfordLights, Camera, Action!

Did you know that Bradford was the first UNESCO City of Film? In 2009 Bradford was awarded this status due to the city’s rich film heritage, its inspirational movie locations and its many celebrations of the moving image through the city’s annual film festivals.

The museum itself has nine floors of galleries to explore, three cinemas including Yorkshire’s biggest IMAX screen, and a packed programme of events, so you’re sure to find something to inspire you. The museum is very hands on & interactive so is an ideal day out for inquisitive youngsters and there’s some fascinating items in the collection including three pivotal firsts – the world’s earliest known surviving negative, the earliest television footage and the camera that made the earliest moving pictures in Britain.

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Hull Maritime MuseumWow, this building, just look at it! Like much of Hull’s old architecture the Maritime Museum is a very aesthetically pleasing building to look at. The building was formerly the Dock Offices and is a truly stunning example of Victorian architecture. The museum tells the story of the Hull’s involvement in fishing industry and there is also a tremendous amount of information about Hull and the whaling trade too including some rather impressive (and pretty cool) whale model skeletons too.

I think the thing that is most impressive about this museum is the sheer volume of quality information, artifacts and displays on offer and you leave with a real sense of pride in everything Hull has achieved in the maritime world through the centuries. The museum also regularly has different artistic exhibitions on, which means you can re-visit this place time and time again.

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Millenium Gallery SheffieldThe Millennium Gallery is Sheffield’s home for art, craft and design.  Here you can see some of Sheffield’s unique heritage, including the metalwork which made the city world famous, alongside contemporary art and design exhibitions. Build in 2001, this is another impressive building to look at and was designed as part of Sheffield’s Heart of the City regeneration project. The museum also backs on to the stunning Winter Gardens which is well worth a visit when you’re in this neck of the woods too.

There are ever changing exhibitions at the gallery, but their two static exhibitions, The Metalwork Collection and The Ruskin Collection deliver a huge amount of interesting content. The Metalwork Collection pays tribute to the skill and craftsmanship of past British metalworkers and highlights Sheffield’s exceptional steel history whilst The Ruskin Collection is named after John Ruskin, a Victorian writer, who put together a collection to inspire creativity. This is a sleek, stylish gallery that is crammed full of remarkable artwork.

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National Ming Museum WakefieldThe National Coal Mining Museum in Wakefield provides you with the unique opportunity to travel 140 metres underground down one of Britain’s oldest working mines. Situated in a rural setting, it offers an unusual combination of exciting experiences, whilst providing a genuine insight into the hard-working lives of miners through the ages. Their aims are to keep coal mining alive by collecting and preserving the industry’s rich heritage, creating enjoyable and inspiring ways to learn for people of all ages.

If you’re looking for a “hands on” experience then it is pretty difficult to find one that is as good as this one. As you don your hard hat and grab your torch, it is an experience that takes you back to what it actually was like to be working in the mining industry. As you step into the cage and are then lowered 140 metres underground, it is a truly one-off experience.

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2 Responses to 5 of the best – Free Museums

  1. stephen says:

    All of them in Yorkshire too !

  2. Darren McElwain says:

    You left out the Bradford industrial museum!!! Also free and excellent.

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