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Doncaster's Museum and Art Gallery
Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery (Doncaster)
Member Name: micksheff
Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery (Doncaster)
Advantages: Free, interesting exhibits
Disadvantages: Unnatractive exterior
The rather dull, unattractive facade of the Doncaster Museum & Art Gallery disguises what a real gem of a place this really is inside. This is Doncaster\'s only town centre museum and here you will find a whole range of different artefacts that tell the story of the history of this town back to the Roman times and even further beyond.
The museum is on two different floors, both of which are fully accessible by disabled visitors, and there is a lift to the second floor. In front of the main entrance doors there is a large reception area, which has various leaflets and books relating to the local area. At this point you could be forgiven for thinking that you had walked into the local tourist information centre rather than a museum, but a quick glance around soon reveals several little anterooms, that lead off from this main foyer area.
There are various exhibitions on the lower floor. The one that I found particularly interesting was a display that detailed the region from prehistoric times through to the present. There are various artist impressions of how this region would have looked together with information about the animals that would roamed around this area, which in those days was heavily forested and close to the coast. There are display cabinets that contain bones of various animals that have been found locally. One of the most impressive is a huge set of moose antlers found on Thorne Moors in 1998. This was especially surprising to me since this is an area that I know very well. I have seen red deer and roe deer here but never a moose! I did not even realise that these things had ever
been native to the British Isles.
There is another display that tells us about the human history of this area. Starting from the earliest settlers this takes us through to the Roman settlement of the area and the creation of the Roman town of Danum, which is the origin of Doncaster town that we see today. Danum was a particularly important Roman town and the influences of the Romans are still evident all around here today.
There are several interactive displays, which are great for the kids, and these include touch and feel displays, where you have to feel various animals' furs and then try and match them up with the correct animal. I would assume that these displays would also be great for visually impaired kids too.
There are three more rooms on the lower floor. One of these, which is the smallest of the three remaining rooms is dedicated to sporting memorabilia and there is a large section of this taken up by the town\'s horse racing connections. There are examples of trophies on display from some of the early St Leger races.
The other room is used mainly for temporary displays and during my recent visit this had a Viking theme. There were several items on display that had recently been unearthed from a Viking woman\'s grave. There were also photographs and video footage of the actual excavation site.
By far the biggest display here is taken up by transport. Doncaster had a car making plant from the early 1900's until the 1950's and there are several examples of the models that were produced on display here. The Bentley was the most famous of the models that were made here.
An art gallery largely takes up the upper floor of the building. I must confess that I did quickly skip a large part of this section but I did find an area that was full of exhibits from pupils at Doncaster College to be quite interesting.
There is also an entire room on this floor that is dedicated to local pottery. The Doncaster area has a long history of pottery making and until the middle of the last century there were dozens of different small potters scattered about. There are examples of pieces from most of these places with descriptive notes on their distinguishing features. I was interested to see just how different from one another some of these pieces were.
Entry to the Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery is free. It is open daily from Monday through to Saturday from 10am until 5pm
The Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery
Telephone - 01302 734293
Summary: Centrally located this is Doncaster's Museum
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