Swindon Museum and Art Gallery

Swindon Museum and Art Gallery
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The Swindon Museum and Art Gallery is in the Old Town area of Swindon. In 1930, Apsley House, which until then had always been a family house, was adapted to house the Museum Collection. The elegant staircase, decorative plaster work and stained glass details which originally graced family rooms have now become familiar to many visitors to the Museum and Art Gallery.

The Museum and Art Gallery has been housed together in this building for many years so it is little wonder that the name Apsley House has become largely forgotten. There remains however, a faint reminder for those with sharp eyesight, for the name is inscribed on the old gate posts, which formed the original entrance from Bath Road. Though that access is now blocked by railings, those stone posts remain and will do for a long time to come.

The aim of Swindon Museum and Art Gallery is to safeguard, enhance, exhibit and celebrate Swindon’s collections for visitors, now and in the future.

The Museum was founded by Charles Gore in 1919 as a place to display his extensive geological collections. Gore was the first curator of the museum and the collections were built up following the fashions of the time, focussing on broad themes rather than local connections. He acquired natural history, egyptological and ethnographic collections, along with archaeological materials. Through time the collections have become more focussed on Swindon and the surrounding areas and we hold objects dating from prehistory to the present showing the development of the area and the people who lived in it.

In 1941 the art collection was established by an impressive donation of 21 works by a local businessman HJP Bomford. This collection has been built on and today Swindon Museum and Art Gallery owns a modern art collection of outstanding quality and importance. In addition we also hold an excellent collection of studio ceramics and a number of local artworks.

Venue Type:

Museum, Gallery

Opening hours

Tuesday - Saturdays
10am - 5pm

Closed: Sun, Mon and Bank Holidays

Admission charges

Admission free
Some workshops and talks incure a fee

Additional info

The Museum and Art Gallery is spread over several floors with no lift facilities, please contact us in advance if you have any access difficulties so we can plan ahead for you.

Housed in a listed building in Swindon's Old Town, the Swindon Community Heritage Museum and Art Gallery displays exhibits of local history, archaeology and geology. It tells the story of Swindon's jurassic past, its connections with the Roman Empire as well as the more recent social history of this thriving town. There is also a programme of temporary exhibitions taken from the museum collections. Unusual exhibits include a 4.5m (15ft) Indian crocodile, an Egyptian mummy of a 12-year-old boy, a unique Roman lead casket and glass urn and the Garrards collection of record turntables. Swindon's remarkable art collection is housed in the Swindon Art Gallery, which is adjacent to the Community Heritage Museum in Bath Road, Old Town, Swindon. It was established by local benefactor, H J P Bomford, during 1944 from a generous donation of works. These works form the nucleus of the collection and include many of the major British artists of the day such as Ben Nicholson, Henry Moore, Graham Sutherland, L S Lowry, Paul Nash and many others. Through an imaginative purchasing programme, the collection now has a reputation as one of the best of British 20th Century Art outside London. A more recent acquisition was Laundromat Locomotion, consisting of 12 photographs by Turner Prize short-listed artist, Steven Pippin. Artists in the collection include Terry Frost, Howard Hodgkin, Gwen and Augustus John, Maggi Hambling, Ivon Hitchens, Christopher Le Brun and Lisa Milroy. There is also a significant collection of studio pottery, with works by David Leach, Lucie Rie and Hans Coper among others.

Collection details

Archaeology, Archives, Coins and Medals, Costume and Textiles, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art, Music, Social History

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
ceramics, swindon, museum, art, gallery, modern, porcelain

Fractures: Texture and Fragility in Modern Ceramics

  • 1 August — 24 November 2018 *on now

Porcelain is used to create some of the world’s most beautiful, versatile and fragile ceramics. It has traditionally been used to create the finest dinner and tea services as it can be richly decorated and can withstand high temperatures. It can also be used to make far less traditional forms.

This exhibition explores the use of porcelain and bone china in modern and contemporary ceramics. It includes modern classics by Edmund de Waal, Lucie Rie, and Bernard Leach, alongside more contemporary work by Sue Paraskeva, Sun Kim, Yoshikawa Masamichi and Fenella Elms.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Admission

Free entry
Swindon Museum and Art Gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday, 11am - 4.30pm

Website

http://www.swindonmuseumandartgallery.org.uk

cicatrix, wwi, centenary, art, exhibition, swindon, wiltshire, contemporary

cicatrix: The Scar of a Healed Wound

  • 12 September — 1 December 2018 *on now

It is a contemporary art exhibition incorporating installation, drawing and films, by Prudence Maltby, Susan Francis and Henny Burnett. They are joined by Commonwealth artists Caro Williams (New Zealand), Catherine Farish (Canada) and Sophie Cape (Australia) for this ground breaking and collaborative exhibition.

This international multimedia touring exhibition examines the concept of scarring: the physical marks left behind, scars on the Wiltshire landscape, and other scars, obscured but clearly evident as memories mapped within those who’ve experienced conflict.

Cicatrix is a member of the First World War Centenary Partnership, led by Imperial War Museums, and forms a network of regional, national and international cultural and educational organisations.

Swindon Museum and Art Gallery is the only venue where this exhibition will be displayed in its entirety.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Free entry. Opening hours - Tuesday to Saturday, 11am - 4.30pm

art, conflict, cicatrix, war, centenary, wwi, swindon

Art and Conflict: Works from the Swindon Collection

  • 12 September — 1 December 2018 *on now

The exhibition includes Augustus John’s important World War I drawing, Canadian Soldiers, as well as World War II paintings by Claude Francis Barry and Mary Kessell.

The exhibition includes more recent responses to conflict, including Joe Tilson’s Vietnam War print, Let a Thousand Parks Bloom, and Barbara Howey’s reflection on atomic warfare.

The exhibition accompanies the exhibition Cicatrix: The Scar of a Healed Wound, and forms part of Swindon Museum and Art Gallery’s programme of exhibitions to mark the centenary of the end of World War I.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Admission

Swindon Museum and Art Gallery is free entry. Opening hours 11am - 4.30pm, Tuesday to Saturday.

Website

http://www.swindonmuseumandartgallery.org.uk

royal, wiltshire, yeomanry, history, swindon, wiltshire, wwi, art, conflict, cicatrix

The Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry: A History

  • 19 September 2018 — 5 January 2019 *on now

The Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry was founded in 1794 to help protect the county during the Napoleonic Wars. Today it lives on as part of the Royal Wessex Yeomanry. This exhibition explores the regiment’s rich history, including its role in Italy and north Africa during the Second World War, the Boer Wars, and the Gulf War.

The Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry received thirteen battle honours during the First World War, with soldiers fighting in Cambrai, Ypres, Bapaume, Messines and the Somme. There will be a special focus on the experience of the regiment and its soldiers during World War I.

The exhibition features paintings, uniforms, photographs and objects held by the Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry’s own museum collection.

This exhibition forms part of Swindon Museum and Art Gallery’s commemoration of the centenary of the First World War. Other exhibitions in this programme include Cicatrix and Art and Conflict.

Admission

Free entry

Swindon Museum and Art Gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday, 11am to 4.30pm

Website

http://www.swindonmuseumandartgallery.org.uk

Swindon Museum and Art Gallery
Bath Road
Old Town
Swindon
Wiltshire
SN1 4BA
England

Website

http://www.swindonmuseumandartgallery.org.uk

E-mail

SMAG@swindon.gov.uk

Telephone

01793 466556

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.
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