Derbyshire County Council’s award-winning museum and art gallery at Buxton is celebrating a successful 2022, a year that saw more than 30,000 visitors through its doors on Terrace Road.
Those visitors donated more than £5,300 – double the amount Buxton Museum and Art Gallery has ever received before.
The museum and art gallery held 14 exhibitions, held 11 free family workshops, including two for families with special educational needs, 14 public lectures and was visited by 285 school pupils.
Online, 190,000 people visited the museum’s websites, blog and social media, on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
The museum hopes to boost the number of young and family visitors further in 2023, after setting up a new play area for under-fives and, instead of the unfriendly ‘do not touch signs’ used in museums in the past, added ‘please touch signs’ and ‘open this drawer, see what’s inside’ signs, encouraging young visitors to explore.
According to the Annual Museum Survey, the museum’s visitors brought £225,735 into the local economy last year.
As well, 42 objects were added to its collections and 36 were returned to indigenous communities in Canada and the United States.
Among the items returned to Native American and First Nation people in Canada and the US, were a ceremonial feasting platter, axe head, tomahawk, moccasins, baskets, canoe bailer and gloves.
Many had been exchanged as gifts with European settlers and travellers. However, some items were taken under duress, and the museum is delighted to see these objects back where they belong. The communities that have received the items back have appreciated the returns and the spirit in which the museum has worked with them.
Items added to collections in 2022 include a teapot belonging originally to Ann Yates of Brown Edge near Buxton dating from about 1880, and made probably at Pearson’s at Whittington Moor, that bears her name; a silver cufflink, found by a metal detectorist in the county, with a design of flaming hearts underneath clasped hands, a love token associated with Charles II and his marriage to Catherine of Braganza in 1662; and a Buxton Mineral Water Co. bottle used for ginger beer dating to about 1875.
The museum has also taken into its care finds from Carsington Pasture Cave which has been excavated over the past 20 years and provides archaeological evidence of the human and animal populations in the Carsington area for many centuries before Roman times.
Buxton Museum is also being used as a warm space to help residents who are struggling to heat their homes.
Councillor Barry Lewis, Derbyshire County Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Strategic Leadership, Culture, Tourism and Climate Change, said: “After the restrictions of lockdown, it’s wonderful to see that Buxton Museum and Art Gallery has not only bounced back but continues to go from strength to strength.”