Buxton Museum and Art Gallery launches Wonders of the Peak

5 September 2017

A brand new gallery and digital experience is set to open at our Buxton Museum and Art Gallery.

Wonders of the Peak − a journey through time and place − houses the museum's collection of 1,200 Peak District artefacts collected over 125 years. The Wonders of the Peak website (opens in a new window) allows people to explore the collection digitally while visiting the Peak District, or from the comfort of their own home, or the library, using their smartphone, tablet or computer.

More than 75 volunteers were instrumental in the project. Their contribution included testing the digital content, collecting oral histories, laying out new displays and conserving and documenting artefacts.

Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Strategic Leadership, Culture and Tourism, Councillor Barry Lewis will welcome the Duke of Devonshire, who will reopen the gallery on Tuesday 12 September 2017 at 3pm.

Councillor Lewis said:

"I'm delighted to attend the launch of this new, innovative gallery that can only enhance visitors' experiences of the museum and of the Peak District. And modern technology has given us the opportunity to make the museum's wonderful collection available to a global audience.

"I'm sure it will be well-used and can only help spread the word about this very special part of the world, raising our profile and boosting tourism."

Councillor Lewis added:

"I'd also like to acknowledge the very valuable contribution made by volunteers. This has been a truly collaborative project."

The artefacts on display have been selected from the museum's geology, archaeology, history and art collections. The museum has worked with the National Trust and Peak District National Park, who look after many of the archaeological sites featured in the new displays. Objects taken to The British Museum in the 19th century are now back in Derbyshire, alongside loans from Derby Museums Trust and Manchester Museum.

Visitors will see the face of a 4,500 year old Liffs Low man emerging through the mist, the massive power of the skeletal hind leg of the Hindlow cave lion, and the beauty of the first Blue John window to be made in 150 years.

The museum's photographic archive, covering more than 150 years, will be projected on a large screen. Staff will be able to change the displays, adding new acquisitions and sharing the results of research into the collections. This will also appear on the Wonders of the Peak website. Using this, visitors will be able to find out more about the collections both at the museum and long after their visit. Users can download information to accompany their exploration of the Peak District's landscapes.

We've helped fund the £1.5m redevelopment, with support from The Heritage Lottery Fund, The Wolfson Foundation, Arts Council England, the Paul Mellon Foundation for the Study of British Art, the Art Fund, The Friends of Buxton Museum and many other supporters.

Jonathan Platt, head of Heritage Lottery Fund East Midlands, said:

"We are delighted that National Lottery players have been able to support this exciting project which will allow visitors to the Peak District, as well as local people, to access the amazing artefacts collected over the last 125 years. It will allow the museum to share its wonderful collections with a much wider audience locally and across the globe."

The new museum was designed by Redman Designs of Ilkley and built by the Hub of Birmingham. The cases have been built by Workhaus at Shelburn-in-Elmet. Many other contractors have helped.

Peter Knott, area director, Arts Council England said:

"Buxton Museum and Art Gallery plays an important role in conserving the history and geology of Derbyshire and we're delighted to have invested in their redevelopment, through the National Lottery-funded Museums Resilience scheme. We hope that more people will have the opportunity to discover stories from one of England's greatest National Parks, both in the Wonders of the Peak exhibition and with the online digital experience."