“ Clifton Park Museum / Clifton Lane / Rotherham / S65 2AA / Tel: (01709) 336633 „
There are various facilties which make the visit easier and more pleasant including the new Granary Café opened in January 2008
The menu includes light lunches, afternoon teas, refreshments and daily specials.
There are toilets, baby changing facilities, a gift shop full of the usual stuff, and car parking on site at cost.
Dry and dour, that's how it looks on the flyer and that's how it is in person, this is not a museum which is especially child friendly in my opinion and one I wasn't especially enthralled by, my kids certainly weren't.
I feel it is far from ideal in terms of being wholly family friendly and will not induce interest in smaller children. Rather than being given opportunities to learn, be interested etc they are given diversions like play areas, that's anot a museum, that's a play centre.
You can see unique exhibits such as Nelson the Lion and the breath-taking Rhinoceros Vase, the first ever porcelain vase cast in one piece, which is great if you are interested in vases.
Recently redesigned with the help of a £3 million grant, Clifton Park Museum details the history of the Rotherham Borough and to some degree contrasts both our lives, and those of our ancestors, illustrated with some modern interactive exhibits.
There are the possibilities of 'hands-on' experiences like regular cookery sessions on the restored Victorian Range and an interactive Jungle playroom for the kids.
Entry to the Museum is free.
They do have somewhat unusual opening dates
Monday to Thursday 10-5
It's really not my cup of tea, in a work capacity I wouldn't take groups of children there but I would go alone or with another adult if I couldn't think of anything else to do.
Cligton Park Museum. Now I went a few years ago. It was boring-nothing interactive, just displays of old display...zzzz.....
However it was re-vamped and we decided to pay it a visit. I was plesantly surprised and have visited many times since.
The museum is in Rotherham which is near Sheffield and is just of Junction 32 of the M1. The museum is fairly well signposted and is in a park (Clifton Park). The full address of the museum is:
Clifton Park Museum
Phone: (01709) 336633
The house was originally owned by the Walker Display and a small dislay outisde tells you about the history of the building. the building itself is pretty impressive-the archetecture is wonderful and it is pretty stunning.
There is parking on site but there is a very small charge-30p for an hour, 60p for 2 £1 for 3, £2 for 4 and £3 for 5 and £4 for all day.
Opening times for the museum are:
Monday to Thursday
Sometimes when they think no-one is in they close early which is a bit annoying.
Admission to the museum is free.
There is a cafe on the ground floor called the Granary cafe which has very recently re-opened unfortunately I have not had the chance to use the new one-however the old one was very nice and quite reasonably priced-they even did freshly squeezed orange squash!
The gift shop is on the way out and is stocked full of kiddies stuff-books, colouring books and soft toys but also has some very lovely jewlery which is very reasonably priced.
The toilets are clean and include baby changing.
It is fully accesible to people with disabilities and I think it has a stair lit.
There is a children's play area called Lion's Den but Iv'e never used it.
There is also a meeting room and the museum is available for hire.
The very first exhibit is on the ground floor and is a quite tiny room. Its main exhibit is a lion-a dead one of course called Nelson who is pretty majestic and is possibly the lion the sculpture in Trafalgar Square is based on. There are also some toys for children and a thign where when you open the flaps different animal noises happen.
The main exhibit is the Story of Rotherham which basically tells the story of Rotherham. This exhibit is highly interatice. Its starts off in a jungle hundreds of millions of years agao-complete with a superb fossilised fern and a fossilised tree trunk. Next is the stone age where there is a suprisingly good mock up of a cave complete with a fine collection of flint tools as well as bear and wolf skulls. There are a few other areas.
You the come to the Roman area-Romans had quite a big impact on Rotherham-they built a fort in templeborugh (right on the edge of Rotherham) and here you can see artefacts inckuding weapons. There is also a touch screen for children(and adults) in which you can tour the fort and fin out about the different areas-it is oddly informative.
Next is the medieval ages where you can make a reconstruction of a Green Man and discover what exactly the symbolise. There is a reconstuction of a rabbit warren where children can have fun searching for the rabbits. There is also a small window-press the button and it lights up showing a superb little model of a battle. There are a few other exhibits here before you moev on.
These aren't as interatice but are still displayed well.
The first room is basically home to a big case of bits and bobs-pestles and mortar, knives etc.etc. . In the corner is rather a sad(and scruffy) bear in shackles. Poor bear. The room is also a worth a look -there's a great fireplace in here.
The next room is hoemt to a collection of Rockingham potter. The collection is very large and very beautiful if you like the sort of thing-if you area pottery enthusiast you'll like it.
They are displayed very imaginativle-set out ona very large and wonderful dining table in a quite wonderful room. Its a great display-and a very clever one.
Also here is the Rhinsoceros vase-the very first porcelain vase cast in one.
Going on the nice stairs you come to the upstairs exhibits.
My personal favourite upstair is the wartime exhibit-its pretty intersting with a great collection of gas masks, guns, some very shing medals, ration books and just about everything war related.
For kids there's a superb re-creation of an air raid shelter-you actually get to go inisde-its cold, dark and squashed-imagine sleeping night after night in there with the sounds of the bombs dropping....
There's also a toy box with artime books and toys-including Biggles!
The next gallery is basically about the people of Rotherham-miner, jobs etc.etc. and it has a good collection of some wonderful( and quite frankly) weird thing. Its worthy stuff but I always fiund these galleries a bit dull.
The net galler is all about the Walker Family-this is quite interesting and it also displays all about the house.
There is also a computer here on the family and the house.
There's a very large case home to a dolls house and lost of other childs toys-includng some very old and cute teddies!
the final area is basically just a research area-computers and lots of books and it is pretty good but I'm not all that interested really.
The park itself is a reasonable size-its all green and quite nice to have a quick walk around with some very odd(and intersting) trees. Its not the nicest or largest park ever but its quite nice. If youv'e got kids there's some fairground type rides and a nice little crazy gold for the little muchins.
Well I think that's just about it.
The regeneration hass made Clifton park -its interactive, fun, great for kids, interesting and educational-its got something for everyone and most items are displayed effectively. It takes about 2 hours to get around.
Overall, its a wonderufl building which houses a wonderful museum with wonderful facilities and is a wonderful day out.
Clifton Park museum is located on the fringe of Rotherham town centre. The museum is housed in Clifton House, a Grade 11 listed building dating from 1793. This house was designed by John Carr, a prominent architect of that time and it was the family home of the Walker family. The original occupier was Joshua Walker and his wife. Joshua's father had made his fortune in the local steel industry. Following Joshua's death this house was passed through various generations of his family and remained in their possession for almost 200 years.
Clifton House stood in 70 acres of grounds and the majority of this land came into the ownership of Rotherham Borough Council in 1891, who opened up this area as a public recreation area called Clifton Park. Shortly after this date the Council also acquired the house and in 1893 they opened this house as a museum.
This museum closed in December 2002 and reopened in January 2005 following a £3 million (4.5 million Euro) refurbishment that was partly funded by National Lottery Heritage money.
The majority of the items within this museum that form the bulk of the exhibitions are items donated by the Walker family.
From the outside the building looks like a grand country house, built in the Palladian style that was popular at the time. This type of architecture draws on both Greek and Roman influences.
The museum occupies the entire building and is on two floors. The main entrance to the museum is on the side of the building and there is an information desk located just inside the doorway. Entry into the museum is free but there is often security here that will carry out random security checks, so if it is busy as it was when I visited here a few weeks ago you should be prepared to queue for a few minutes before being allowed inside.
Once inside there are various different rooms, each with a different theme. On the lower level there is a large open plan foyer area in the middle of the building that was once the courtyard to the house, but this now has a roof over it. From here there is a labyrinth of different corridors that lead into different rooms. There are also toilets, including ones equipped for disabled access and with baby changing facilities in this area as well as a gift shop and cafe.
The main displays on the lower floor relate to the history of Rotherham through the ages. There is a section about the geology and geography of this area and its earliest occupation by man. This area also includes information about some of the animals that would have roamed this region. There are cabinets here that contain bones from animals found locally that have long been extinct, including wolves and bears.
Moving on from the exhibitions regarding the earliest times there are further displays that cover the Roman occupation of the town and onwards through to Rotherham during the middle ages. Amongst the Roman exhibitions there are displays of locally found Roman pottery and other artefacts as well as a hoard of Roman coins that were excavated from the outskirts of the town a few years ago.
The other half of the floor space on the lower level is where we find recreated rooms from the days of the Walker family and the main three rooms here are the library, the kitchens and the dining room. The dining room features a huge table that is set with an ornate original dinner service. Underneath each of the larger dinner plates there is a placard that contains a description of a dish that could have been on the menu. The kitchens feature the original wood fuelled ovens.
The upper levels of the building are accessed via a set of stairs, but these have a stair lift attached to them for disabled visitors. There are no lifts within the building. The upper rooms contain further examples of life in the times of the Walker family. Here we find the bedrooms, the dressing rooms and the children's play areas. Again, these areas contain original items of clothing and toys etc.
Also located on the upper floor, and somewhat oddly out of place is an exhibition featuring Rotherham during the Second World War. There is a replica of an air raid shelter complete with tin hats and audio tapes that contain spoken accounts of the days spent in such shelters.
The museum is open at the following times:
Monday to Thursday, and Saturday - 10am to 5pm
Sunday - 1.30pm to 4.30pm
It is closed on Fridays and during Christmas and the New Year
I really enjoyed my visit to the Clifton Park museum and found it to be a very interesting insight into how the rich families of the 18th and 19th centuries lived. It was also an interesting history lesson about the town of Rotherham itself as well.
I also found it incredible to think that what I have always known as Clifton Park was actually once someone's private garden. In fact the original gardens to the house were considerably larger than the present day park since the stables and flower gardens are now beneath the buildings of the town centre and the adjacent housing estates.
Clifton Park Museum
The record breaking Clifton Park Museum is a day out with a difference! One of the most modern and user-friendly Museums in the country, the two time nominated Museum of the year features famous exhibits such as Nelson the Lion and the breath-taking Rhinoceros Vase, the first ever porcelain vase cast in one piece!