Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry

Museum of Lakeland Life with Trezion
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The Museum takes you back through time to explore the story of the Lake District and its inhabitants. Isolated before the arrival of the railway and motorcar, this area developed its own unique customs and traditions.

Recreated period rooms and workshops reveal how rural people lived and worked and played and how different life was before the introduction of machinery. Discover a Lake District kitchen, complete with traditional recipes and utensils, a bedroom full of vernacular furniture and furnishings – including a magnificent 17th century four-poster bed, a farmhouse parlour with a working phonograph and rare 18th century oak panelling.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Open 16 Jan 2015 - 14 Feb 2016 (closed 24, 25, 26 Dec and 1 Jan)
Monday - Saturday 10.30am - 4pm (closing 5pm Mar - Oct)

Sundays during July, August and Abbot Hall's Canaletto exhibition (22 Oct -14 Feb 2016), 12 - 4pm

Admission charges

Adults £5.00, Children and Students FREE

Recreated farmhouse rooms and workshops tell the story of Lakeland folk, who lived in relative isolation before the arrival of motorcars and trains. The importance of sheep-farming and the related wool-trade, as well as mining and industry, to the area is shown through a combination of real artefacts and photography. A recreation of author Arthur Ransome's study, complete with his personal papers and posessions, tells the story of his fascination with the Lakes, and an Arts & Crafts area highlights the importance of figures like John Ruskin had on the revival of local crafts. Parts of the collection that are not on permanent display can be seen by prior arrangement.

Collection details

Agriculture, Archives, Costume and Textiles, Decorative and Applied Art, Industry, Medicine, Personalities, Photography, Science and Technology, Social History

Key artists and exhibits

  • Joseph Hardman
  • Arthur Ransome
  • Arts & Crafts in Cumbria
  • Simpsons of Kendal
  • Stanley Davies
  • Annie Garnett
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

Yards of Industry: The Working Life of Kendal’s Yards

  • 13 February — 3 September 2016 *on now

The yards of Kendal are a unique part of the town’s history, once bustling patches of life and industry they still shape the distinctive feel of the town today. This display looks at the history of these unique spaces. What was life like the yards? Who lived and worked there? How did they come about, and how did they get their names? This display will also look at the industries that flourished in the yards and bring together dozens of objects to illustrate these stories.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Normal admission applies.

Hardan photograph

Joseph Hardman: People on Film

  • 17 September — 17 December 2016

Joseph Hardman was a prolific photographer who captured an image of Lakeland life between the 1930s and the 1960s. The Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry now holds over 5000 of his original glass slides. This show will bring together some of these images to examine an aspect of Hardman’s work that is often overlooked, his use of people as subjects. Hardman is more famous for his stunning landscapes or the work of shepherds, but people from all walks of life play an important role in his photographs. This display will ask how the figures in Hardman’s pictures were used and how they help to create his signature Lake District images.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Normal Museum admission applys

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
story telling

Story Telling Week: Trails and Tales

  • 30 May — 3 June 2016

With titles like Headthinker VIII and the Medieval Cloud Girls, Laura Ford’s sculptures at Abbot Hall immediately grab your attention and the rooms at Blackwell have some intriguing visitors. The Armour Boys, the Rag and Bone Hedgehog and the Sorrow Filled Cat - what stories could they tell if only they could speak?

Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry
Full of curious objects, the Museum is a great place to let your imagination run wild and tell stories! Join us as we make shadow puppets and then entertain visitors to the Museum with your shadow puppet performance.

Also at Abbot Hall Art Gallery and Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House

Drop in sessions, no booking required

Suitable for

  • Any age


£3 per child, normal admission for adults. Friends free



Knitting for Dementia

  • 24 — 28 October 2016

Play, experiment and be inspired by wool with craft activities for the whole family. Linked to the inspiring work that we do with people living with Dementia, learn to knit, explore wool and fleece and enjoy special family moments.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Children free, normal adult admission applies


Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry
Abbot Hall




01539 722464


01539 722494

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.