Pillar Man by Nicolaus Widerberg, 2004. Part of the University Gallery and Baring Wingcollection at the University of Northumbria. Gallery photographs © Keith Paisley, 2005.
A new guide celebrating more than 80 museums and galleries in the North East has been produced as part of a strategy to increase visitors to regional museums.
Renaissance North East has compiled the Regional Museums Guide, which contains details of 81 venues from Alnwick Castle to Zetland Lifeboat Museum.
The free guide is aimed at helping people to get the most out of museums and to find the treasures hidden in many collections throughout this historic part of the country.
The guide has information on a whopping 81 museums, galleries and heritage attractions across the North East. Courtesy Renaissance North East.
Featuring information taken from the 24 Hour Museum website and photographs of all the venues listed, the booklet is handy for people who are regular museum-goers and newcomers to the area.
As part of the Renaissance in the Regions initiative led by the Museums Libraries and Archives Council, the North East Regional Museums Hub compiled and produced the booklet - the first of its kind in the region.
“We produced the guide to try and show everyone that there is a museum sector in the region as opposed to a number of different venues,” said Bill Griffiths, North East Hub Manager. “By putting them all together in one place we can show what this sector is, because otherwise people talk of Beamish, Discovery or The Dorman Museum without thinking of museums as a body.”
Among the North East's many jewels is Turbinia - the world's first turbine-powered vessel - on show at Discovery in Newcastle. © Alastair Smith/ 24 Hour Museum.
“Hopefully this will raise awareness with the kind of people who may pick up a leaflet like the Regional Museums Guide and there may be an element of ticking museums off and seeing them all,” added Bill. “So that people can actually get a feel for the diversity of the museums we have in the region.”
Visitors can use the guide to look up opening times and entry prices or simply to open it at a random page and experience one of the varied days out.
Of the many museums listed in the guide is the Bagpipe Museum in Morpeth, which specialises in Northumbrian small pipes, and the Durham University Oriental Museum - the only museum in the North East devoted solely to Oriental art and archaeology.
The magnificent Bowes Museum is one of the larger institutions in the guide. Courtesy The Bowes Museum.
There are also many award winning attractions listed, such as Beamish: The North of England Open Air Museum which won Large Visitor Attraction of the Year 2005. Not to mention Killhope: The North of England Lead Mining Museum, winner of the Guardian Family Friendly Museum of the Year 2004.
The North East Regional Museums Hub is a partnership of Tyne & Wear Museums, Beamish, The Bowes Museum, Hartlepool Museums and NEMLAC, the North of England Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.
Funding for the Hub and the booklet was provided by the Renaissance in the Regions scheme through the DCMS. Anyone who would like a copy should contact the North East Regional Museums Hub on 0191 232 6789.