Armitt Library and Museum

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The Armitt is a unique place combining Gallery, Museum and Library. It is a treasure-house for scholarship and fun, art and entertainment.

It encapsulates all that is best about Lakeland and its people and preserves that essence for future generations to enjoy. The Armitt is situated in Ambleside, Cumbria, in the very heart of the magnificent English Lake District.

Venue Type:

Archive, Museum

Opening hours

Mon-Sat 10:00 to 17:00

Admission charges

Admission charges apply. Please contact museum for more details.

Collection details

Archaeology, Archives, Fine Art, Natural Sciences, Personalities, Social History

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

Beatrix Potter | Image and Reality

  • 1 June 2014 — 1 June 2015 *on now

Explore the life of Beatrix Potter one of the most iconic and influential figures of the Lake District at the Armitt Museum.

Beatrix Potter was a member of the Armitt almost from its founding in 1912. She was a major benefactor and on her death in 1943 she bequeathed to us her exquisite botanical drawings and watercolours, together with her personal first edition copies of her ‘little’ books. With this archive together with material from the National Trust Archive, The Frederick Warne Archive, and the Beatrix Potter Society, we have created an exhibition on her life that is guaranteed to fascinate anyone who loves the Lakes.

Between 1888 and 1898 Beatrix Potter developed a passion for the study of mycology, culminating in her research paper on the germination of macro-fungi being presented to England’s oldest natural history organisation, The Linnean Society in London. The intriguing outcome of her venture into Victorian science can be discovered in ‘Image and Reality’.

During this period she produced over 450 drawings and watercolours to support her research. These works have the almost unique distinction of being both scientifically accurate and beautiful works of art. She herself considered them to be amongst her best work. On her death she left her portfolios of mycological work to the Armitt and we are proud to be the custodian of her scientific legacy.

Beatrix Potter also had a strong entrepreneurial streak that lasted long after she lost interest in publishing. From 1913 she turned away from writing to take up farming in her beloved Lake District. This became her life.

In the final act of this singular journey she used her great wealth to buy up large areas of the Lake District, that she believed were at risk, with the sole purpose of leaving it all to the nation through the National Trust.

‘Image and Reality’ is Beatrix Potter’s remarkable story told through her own words and images and through the great wealth of archival material held at the Armitt; it is a portrait of an extraordinarily rich life lived during a period of great social upheaval.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Armitt Library and Museum
Rydal Road
LA22 9BL

logo: Heritage Open Days 2014




01539 431212


01539 431313

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.