The iconic Museum of The Gorge, one of the ten Ironbridge Gorge Museums in Shropshire, has reopened its doors following a major refurbishment. Thanks to support from the Art Fund’s crowdfunding platform, Art Happens, the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust has been able to redisplay the collections in new cases, upgrade the lighting, replace all of the interpretation panels and install new state of the art equipment into the auditorium.
The new exhibits and displays in the Museum of The Gorge will help visitors discover more about the many and varied industries that flourished in the Gorge and the crucial role that transport played in supplying raw materials as well as dispatching finished goods to market. New bespoke cases house fine examples of tiles, ceramics and cast-iron objects that were made in The Gorge and interactive displays give younger visitors a chance to play and learn.
The stunning 40 foot model of the Ironbridge Gorge remains at the centre of the museum’s displays and illustrates life in the valley in 1796. The vast model allows a glimpse of life on the day the Prince and Princess of Orange visited the Gorge and crossed the world’s first cast-iron bridge with smoke billowing from furnace chimneys and boats criss-crossing the River Severn.
Visitors can enjoy a 12-minute video in the museum’s auditorium that explains the complex history of the Ironbridge Gorge and the characters that helped shape the Industrial Revolution. The upgraded audio-visual equipment that was installed as part of the redevelopment will allow the museum to develop a varied programme of screenings, from historic Pathé footage to community film events. The space will also be available for the local community to hire for events, film screenings and small-scale performances.
The much improved museum acts as the main orientation point for visitors wanting to explore the unique museums and landscapes of Ironbridge and is home to the Ironbridge Visitor Information Centre.
The redevelopment of the Museum of The Gorge has been funded through Art Happens, the Art Fund’s crowdfunding platform. 168 people from across the country kindly donated funds, raising over £25,000 to enable the project to happen. More information about Art Happens is at www.artfund.org.uk/arthappens.
The Museum of The Gorge is open 10am-5pm every day. A great value Annual Passport Ticket allowing unlimited entry into all ten Ironbridge Gorge Museums costs £27.95 per adult, £21.50 for seniors, £16.95 for children under 18, £68 for a family of two adults and all their children and £50 for a family with one adult; under 5s free (terms and conditions apply); Passports can also be bought online in advance saving 10% and individual entry tickets are available at each museum.
For further information, contact Ironbridge Visitor Information Centre on 01952 433 424 or visit www.ironbridge.org.uk. The Gorge is easily reached via the M6 and M54 motorways exiting at Telford (M54 junction 4 or 6).