A Northumberland attraction has celebrated its tenth anniversary of opening following a major redevelopment.
An investment of £16million revitalised Woodhorn Museum’s former colliery site, bringing old buildings back into use and building a stunning new facility to house not just displays about the industrial heritage of south east Northumberland, but Northumberland Archives and its millions of records.
A decade on, and close to one million visitors have passed through the doors, enjoying a wide range of exhibitions — about 80 in total — taking part in great family events, researching their family history and much more.
Woodhorn Interim Director Jo Raw said: “The past ten years have just flown by, and there have been so many wonderful moments along the way.
“It has been fabulous to be able to share our local community’s story with the wider public visiting our historic site, and also to be able to bring in stunning exhibitions and work by renowned artists to delight our local audiences.
“We have also been delighted to be able to share some of the content of the Northumberland Archives with visitors by turning research and cataloguing projects into fascinating exhibitions.”
The museum and archive has had a positive economic impact on the area by providing jobs and encouraging tourists to visit the south eastern corner of the county. Only recently it was announced that the seven-week visit by the Tower of London poppies had brought an estimated £1.8million to Northumberland.
With the anniversary coinciding with half-term, the museum held a special celebration, offering a fun family programme all week.
And on the anniversary itself even more activities took place, including craft activities with Unfolding Theatre, a family-friendly print workshop, and excerpts from Pitman, a new dance work by the Eliot Smith Company inspired by the story of the Pitmen Painters.
There was also live music in the café with Kiddars Luck.
Highlights from the last ten years include Poppies: Weeping Window — the poppy sculpture from the stunning display at the Tower of London which attracted 125,000 visitors, the 150th anniversary of Northumberland Miners’ Picnic, Stannington Sanatorium archive project, and Pitmen Painters — the play by Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall based on the story of the Ashington Group of Artists, which has played in the West End, Broadway and in venues across the globe.
There has also been TV coverage, including BBC’s Imagine, a documentary with Robson Green, Great Railway Journeys with Michael Portillo, Antiques Road Trip, Ade in Britain, and Who Do you Think You Are.
Admission is free and parking is £3.50. See www.experiencewoodhorn.com