2017 is going to be a significant year of anniversaries for Shropshire’s Ironbridge Gorge Museums as its not only 50 years since the founding of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust in 1967, but also 300 years since the death of Abraham Darby I, widely recognised as the man who started the Industrial Revolution.
As part of the anniversary celebrations Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron will be re-opening in time for Easter 2017 following a massive refurbishment of all three floors. The all new museum will tell the complete history of the iron industry, from explaining how the geology of the Gorge provided all of raw materials needed for iron to be made there from medieval times, all the way through to the modern steel industry.
Different zones will explain how the discoveries made in Coalbrookdale changed the world forever and celebrate the lives of the different characters, including the Darby dynasty of ironmasters and ‘Iron Mad’ Wilkinson. Visitors will discover more about the important role played by women in the management of the Coalbrookdale factory and the hard conditions that the workers faced to help make Ironbridge one of the most important industrial locations in the world.
Wonderful examples of the varied ironware made in Coalbrookdale will be on display including a giant whaling pot, an anchor from a Napoleonic Warship as well intricate and beautiful statues, furniture and everyday household goods such as door stops, cooking pots and flat irons. Children will be able to follow their own interactive trail around the museum and work out fun puzzles.
The Trust will also be marking its 50th anniversary by holding a community art competition, with all Shropshire residents invited to submit artwork that has been inspired by the museums. The piece can be created in any medium such as paint, wood, metal, ceramics textiles, photography, film, multi-media and more. Submissions are required by March and winning entries will be displayed across the museums from late spring. There are different age categories and entries can be by professional or amateur artists as well as schools and colleges.
Other highlights across the year will include new special events such as animal inspired activities over the Easter holidays, summer events themed around Fire, Furnace and Steam while, later in the year, Halloween will take centre stage at the October half-term workshops.
2017 is going to be a fantastic and exciting year to visit the Ironbridge Gorge Museums and discover how much the museums have changed over the last 50 years.
A great value Annual Passport Ticket allowing unlimited entry into all 10 Ironbridge Gorge Museums costs £25 per adult, £20 for seniors, £15 for children under 18, £68 for a family of two adults and all their children and £50 for a family with one adult; under 5s free (terms and conditions apply); Passports can also be bought online in advance saving 10% and individual entry tickets are available at each museum. For further information, call the Ironbridge Tourist Information Centre on 01952 433 424 or visit www.ironbridge.org.uk.
The Gorge is easily reached via the M54 motorway exiting at Telford junction 4 or 6.
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