Newest Review: ... informative. We could pay £3.60 as an adult to see the museum or £21.95 to get a passport to all museums. There are discounts available ... more
Little Museum, Lovely Gorge
Ironbridge Gorge Museum (Ironbridge)
Member Name: Essexgirl2006
Ironbridge Gorge Museum (Ironbridge)
Advantages: Proximity to the Gorge, good value as part of 'passport' tickets
Disadvantages: Small, not worth doing on its own
I had visited Ironbridge before, a school history trip approximately a billion years ago, it is so much more appealing to come back under your own steam! On arrival in Ironbridge this time, (the home of Britain's Industrial Heritage), we first visited the Museum of the Gorge and I think it is a good place to start. Parking is outside the museum - the parking is run by the local authority and they dictate the prices, but it is reasonable. When you first walk into the museum you mainly see a shop selling gifts and books. We knew we wanted to visit some of the other museums in the area so stopped to ask about purchasing a 'Passport' to all the open museums (some are closed seasonally). Here we found the staff very helpful and informative. We could pay £3.60 as an adult to see the museum or £21.95 to get a passport to all museums. There are discounts available for pensioners and children. We purchased two passports and were directed to the museum on site.
They say allow 45 minutes for this museum and I think this is quite generous. For me the star attraction was the 12m long scale model of the gorge in 1796 which shows you all the sites of historical interest and where the important industrial growth happened and its impact on the residents of the area. I think it was very well done and appealed across the ages. The other highlight was an informative 12 minute film on the area. The film gave you a bit of background into the history of the gorge and how it grew into the industrial heartland of the 18th and 19th centuries as well as the building of the famous bridge by Darby, as well as mentioning the other attractions in the area. Due to the length of the film - which is on a loop - you may have to wait to go into it, but you can always join it part of the way through if you wish. I would have liked to have known about the film sooner, and had the option to return to the museum after seeing it, enabling us to plan our timings better. When the film finishes you exit through a different door to the shop.
There is a small, fairly irrelevant section, on Captain Webb, a local man who swam the English Channel. The exhibits include posters and documentation. As well as this there were some interactive computer based exhibits for children that didn't really appeal to us. Signage generally was informative and easy to read, but it is a small museum so don't expect too much.
The museum is situated in a former warehouse that belonged to the Coalbrookdale ironworks, a large, prestigious local firm and was converted to a museum in the late Seventies. It is a small museum and I think I would have been disappointed if I had paid £3.60 for it on its own, as it was included in our passport I didn't mind so much as it was like visiting a 'free' museum. I don't recall if there were toilet facilities here or not, but the museum was disabled friendly. By all means if you are thinking of getting the passport then pop in here, but I am not sure it is worth too much of your time. It is open daily 10am to 5pm.
It is situated just a few minutes walk from the bridge itself, and there are plenty of pubs and café catering to tourists nearby if you want to stop for lunch.
Summary: A good introduction to the region
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