The Ruskin Museum, down a side street and hidden away, is a huge cabinet of curiosities. I felt like some sort of Alice wandering around a Museum Wonderland, each area as intriguing as the next. It’s delightful toy box of memorabilia, informative displays and original artwork. After a relatively recent revamp, its collection is split into three rooms to help visitors navigate their way around such a disparate yet fascinating collection: The Coniston Room including the small sailboat “Mavis” the original “Swallow” from “Swallows & Amazons”; The new Bluebird Room with lots of details about the World Speed Record attempt; and the Ruskin Room, a lovely Victorian parlour crammed with watercolours and other memorabilia of Ruskin and Collingwood.
What I truly like about the museum is that there is such a variety of objects that, if you are with a family, then everyone will find something of interest – although, I must confess to getting overwhelmed at so much on display. I’ll have to come on my own sometime. The boys loved the “Mavis” and the miniature stone houses from the John Usher collection. I was fascinated by the Neolithic finds and copper mining display whilst Bill spent time in the Bluebird Room, staring at grainy black and white photographs of the speed king, Donald Campbell. We all loved Ruskin’s slightly rusting and used watercolour paint boxes and dog eared sketch books.
You need an hour at the very least to sample its delights. The museum’s own (quirky) website is here to check on exact location in Coniston, prices and opening times.
If you want to read my post about a young boy’s encounter with Donald Campbell, click here.
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