Museum Snapshots

Framework Knitters Museum

The Framework Knitters Museum is in Wigston, near Leicester. The last master hosier to work on the site, Edgar Carter, died in 1952 leaving the workshop locked and intact. As the museum’s website explains, the workshop “contained eight hand frames for making gloves, mitts and fancy ribbed tops for golf hose, together with all the needle moulds and tools associated with each machine”.

Image via the museum’s website.

Museum Snapshots

Armstrong’s Household and Farming Museum

Armstrong’s Household and Farming Museum near Alnwick, Northumberland, was set up in the 1980s by Sylvia Armstrong. She began collecting when she realised that many people threw away things they no longer wanted, and the history of her area would be lost as a result.

The museum includes a traditional farmhouse kitchen with a black range, kitchen equipment and food packets. A stable contains areas on dairy, old hand tools and memories of the Second World War. An archive of farm literature includes catalogues, farm account books, and particulars of land and farm sales. Shoes, clothing, and jewellery are also part of the collection.

Sylvia was awarded an MBE in 1999 for her services to the museum. The Armstrongs also donate much of the museum’s proceeds to charity, and have raised thousands of pounds over the years.

Sylvia Armstrong in her museum
Sylvia Armstrong, 2014.

Images via The Journal.

Museum Snapshots

Send and Ripley Museum

Museums may move in different ways. Sometimes collections are transferred to different sites, and occasionally get renamed in the process. Others are completely itinerant, such as the Museum of Water. But the premises of Send and Ripley Museum had to move even before it could be used as a museum.

This building was formerly a branch of National Westminster Bank in the village of Ripley in Surrey. It was offered to the Send and Ripley Historical Society on the condition that it be moved to another site. In a small feat of logistics, the building was moved in one piece on the back of a lorry to its present location, where it now functions as the museum of the Society.

The displays include geological specimens, photographs, and a locally made WW2 air raid shelter.

Image from Send and Ripley Historical Society.

Museum Snapshots

Dufftown Whisky Museum


The Whisky Museum is in Dufftown, Speyside, which claims to be “Malt Whisky Capital of the World”. Sited on the banks of the river Fiddich, Dufftown was at one time home to nine whisky distilleries with six currently active, including the well known Glenfiddich.

The museum was opened in 2002 by Charles MacLean, a prolific writer on whisky. Its exhibits include illicit stills and other tools and equipment used for whisky manufacture. The museum was forced to vacate its first site in 2009 and has plans to expand its current small premises.

Image from Dufftown Whisky Museum.

Museum Snapshots

The Ark Museum

The Ark is the oldest building in active use in Tadcaster, Yorkshire. Built in the late 15th Century, it is reputed to have been used by the Pilgrim Fathers to meet when planning their voyage to America. As well as a meeting place, at different times the Ark has been used as a post office, an inn, a butchers, a private house and a museum. Its name derives from two carved corbel figures on the exterior which are said to be Noah and his wife.

It housed a museum of local and brewing history, owned by John Smith’s brewery, but the museum closed in 1989. The collections were dispersed to a variety of places including Doncaster Museum, the Castle Museum in York, and private collections. Today the building is in use as council offices.

More information at Visit Tadcaster.

Museum Snapshots

Adamston Agricultural Museum


The Adamston Agricultural Museum was opened in 1972 by Hew McCall-Smith. His collection comprised more than 500 items related to farming and domestic life in the North East of Scotland. This included ploughs, horse harness, and dairy equipment. McCall-Smith also organised events, including exhibits of threshing, ploughing, and cheese-making.

The museum remained open until the early 1980s, when the collection was purchased by Moray District Council and incorporated into Aden, the North East of Scotland Agricultural Centre (now known as the Aberdeenshire Farming Museum).

More information about these museums can be found in An Introduction to Scottish Ethnology by Alexander Fenton.

Image via Deeside Books.

Museum Snapshots

Birmingham Nature Centre


This building has had various lives, with at least four different institutions occupying the site. It was once the Cannon Hill Museum and devoted to the history of Birmingham. Around 1953, changes at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery led to the natural history department establishing a museum on the site. It subsequently became the Birmingham Nature Centre and is now the entrance to Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park.

It is situated on the edge of Cannon Hill Park, which opened in 1873. The park was designed by T. J. Gibson, who had previously designed London’s Battersea Park.

(Image via Birmingham Images)

Some information about the history of the museum is from: Wingfield, Christopher. “(Before and) after Gallery 33: Fifteen years on at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery” Journal of Museum Ethnography 18 (2006): 49-62, p.57. (read online at