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MuseumsRuskin's Museum

Want to find out more about the rich history of South Lakeland and its people? Explore our museums and travel back in time to discover what made South Lakeland the place it is today.

The Kendal Museum is one of the oldest museums in the country, charting the social and natural history of the area from prehistoric times to the present day. Kendal Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry shows how our ancestors have worked, lived and entertained themselves for 300 years. Exhibitions include reconstructions of a Victorian street, pharmacy, toy shop and market hall.

The Lakeland Motor Museum in Backbarrow, near Newby Bridge, contains over 100 years of motoring history with fascinating stories for all ages. The Campbell Bluebird Exhibition, shop and riverside café make this much more than just a motor museum. Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories is Cumbria's newest museum and is set in a magnificent location on the shores of Lake Windermere.

Learn about the history of Coniston and its most famous resident, John Ruskin, at the Ruskin Museum, with its comprehensive selection of Ruskin’s watercolours, drawings and manuscripts.

The Armitt Museum in Ambleside houses over 10,000 books covering local history and devotes an area to Beatrix Potter, displaying some of her natural history watercolours. Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum in Grasmere offer unique insights into the life and work of William Wordsworth.

At Elterwater, in the Langdale Valley, you can visit Kurt Schwitters' Merz Barn. The Merz barn building itself still stands much as Schwitters left it in 1948 and can be visited free of charge. The site and associated buildings are used for exhibitions, artists' residences, projects and summer school.

For something light-hearted, try the Laurel and Hardy Museum in Ulverston, home to a hoard of memorabilia about the funny men!

To further explore museums in our area, visit GoLakes.