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I visited this museum in November solely because of its new exhibition on German Expressionist artwork, as I am currently completing an A-level art project on the Expressionist movement. I was expecting a tiny exhibition room with few other permanent exhibitions, but happily I was proved wrong!
New Walk Museum and Art Gallery is located a few minutes' walk from the train station and is also close to a multi-storey car park. I found the building and location themselves very pleasing to the eye; it is a tall white building with impressive columns set in a leafy green square in the historic New Walk area of Leicester.
It was a pleasant surprise to find that admission was absolutely free, even to the temporary exhibition! This suggests to me that it would be a brilliant place to take families.
Indeed the exhibitions downstairs are clearly geared towards inquisitive children and parents. 'Wild Space' explores the different areas and climates which exist on Earth, and how the animals who live there have adapted to their surroundings. The exhibition space contains 5 different zones; Antarctic and Arctic, under the sea, the African savannah, the rainforest and the desert. In each zone there are life-size models of animals that would typically live in that environment (the models looked so realistic that I thought they might be stuffed, but I really have no idea about these things!). Of course there are interactive elements for this exhibitions, involving pressing buttons to hear about different animals or watch videos about different environments. There is also a tunnel for small children to crawl through which looks at life underground, which looked fun (although I thought it might be a bit inappropriate for me to go in it!).
I was also thoroughly impressed by the Ancient Egyptian exhibition. Like many children I was fascinated by Egyptian mummies from an early age, and I went to the Egyptian zone at the British Museum in London. While there is nowhere near the amount of mummies and artefacts at New Walk Museum, there are still 5 well-preserved mummies to look at, complete with their respective coffins, which are beautifully decorated. The way this exhibition is organised is exciting for children - the exhibition takes you on a journey through the Egyptian death into the afterlife, using various artefacts such as canopic jars and vases to illustrate different stages. I thought this exhibition was brilliant for both adults and children, and I loved it!
The other two permanent exhibitions which would have been suitable for children especially have now been closed until 2011 for major refurbishment, but there was an amazing skeleton of a dinosaur in one of these exhibitions which you would do well to visit after the refurbishment is over.
I took a brief glance into the World Arts gallery upstairs, but as we were running out of time I did not get a chance to have a proper look round it. From what I saw, however, it appeared to be different artefacts from different cultures, typically textiles work or pots. I would have liked to have looked into it further as it seemed very interesting, and I would recommend that you do, as there were things in there to interest adults and older children.
The final exhibition I am going to talk about is 'Journey out of Darkness' located on the upper floor. This is only a temporary exhibition but its duration has been extended due to popular demand to 3rd May 2010, so you should all come and visit it! You may have guessed that I was thoroughly impressed by this exhibition in particular. For a fairly minor gallery, this is a remarkable collection of Expressionist artwork. It includes a great deal of artworks from private collections which were rescued from Nazi Germany, as the Nazis condemned most Expressionist artwork as 'degenerate'. It had a huge amount of prints, but also some stunning paintings. The jewel in the crown of the exhibition is 'Red Woman' by Franz Marc. Marc rarely painted figures, but this portrait of a red-skinned primitive woman is, I believe, one of the most beautiful paintings I have ever seen.
As for facilities, the museum has an excellent shop, selling books relating to the exhibitions (I picked up a very useful one relating to the German Expressionists) which target children and adults. There are also various toys available for children. The cafe is also lovely. It is not very big but it has a very relaxed atmosphere and reasonable prices. I would also very much recommend the hot chocolate, it is delicious! I believe that the museum is also wheelchair and pushchair friendly.
Overall, I simply cannot contain my enthusiasm for this museum, it is absolutely brilliant! It caters for families, art enthusiasts, history fans and those who just have curious minds, and it makes for a fantastic trip out on a cold or rainy day. It is open from 10am - 5pm every day except Sunday (when it opens at 11) and I absolutely recommend it!
Do you like looking at history? Do you like mummies? Dinosaws?
Well the new walk museum has it all. You can see the real life like mummies and how people lived when mummies were wrapped.
Also see the life size dinosaw skeleton and lots of smaller ones.
There is also the wild life section and you can actually be part of the display and look at little creatures using and electronic microscope.
Upstaris, which has a life to get there aswel as steps; you can view lots of arts and painting and watch a video on variouss pieces of history.
There are also small little activitie for the little ones to do to keep them ammused.
There is also a gift shop inside, but like all they are a bit pricey, selling quite a range of good relating to the museum's history and also some sweets.
I think this museum is good for all ages if you enjoy history. Why not take a pic-nic and eat it on the New Walk, which looks great and part of the history of Leicester.
The new walk museum, on New Walk, is a free museum and is worth a visit.
I am a tour guide in Leicester, and i'ts a big attraction.
There are 6 permenant exhibitions including: The Ancient Egypt Section, The space and atmosphere section, the dinosaw section and more.
It is a two story museum, but it has full wheel chair access to both floors. There is some interactive things to do in New Walk, such as crawling under a behind glass exhibition and popping you head into the middle of it. Also there is a lot of computer for you to use relating to the things in the museum.
Upstairs isnt so interacitve, it has thousands of photos and some ornimants, there is also an old stlye board game, which you can use. Down stairs is the best place tho. There is also a gift shop, which does had quite a lot of things to buy, form sweets to dinosaw teeth, but the prices like everywhere are quite steep.
This was a surprising find that I discovered on a visit to my brothers in Leicester. Well, despite growing up in Leicestershire I have never had a huge affinity with the city itself and had visited most of what there is to see as a child. But returning as an adult and entering the museum on a whim one quiet afternoon I was pleasantly surprised by the size and content of what was on offer.
First of all the museum is located in perhaps the nicest part of the city on New Walk, which runs parallel to the arterial route London Road and stretches from the edge of the city centre and main shopping area to Victoria Park (and the university). The mainline station is close by (5 minutes walk) and parking is available.
Admission is free, which rather caught me by surprise. Inside there are permanent exhibitions - 'Wild Space' which explores various wild locations around the world such as open savannahs, rainforests, the Arctic and Antarctic and an underwater habitat. These spaces are designed to give you an experience of how it feels to be there, though rest assured, the temperature was not sub-zero in the Arctic region. There were, however, real insects (though not on the loose) and spiders.
After this I checked out the dinosaur exhibition, mostly reconstructed replica fossils and some originals from the local area. Reasonably interesting I thought, though not a patch on the Natural History Museum in London.
I was less interested in the rocks exhibition, which perhaps has minority appeal, but gives the curators a chance to say Leicester Rocks! But the ancient Egyptian museum was well stocked with artefacts and gave a real impression of the burial rituals and customs.
But I particularly liked the Art gallery. Here are examples of work by Pisarro, Rodin and Constable plus a wealth of local art. There is a permanent exhibition of German Expressionist painting which fills in many of the blanks around the well-known 'Scream' by Munch. Here you can see the development of the genre and get a real sense of what this school of art was trying to achieve. I loved it.
Also impressive was the collection of art by local Indian and Muslim artists. Leicester is a proudly multi-cultural city and it was great to see a representation from some very talented artists in the city.
Overall, this is a museum perfect for a wet afternoon for both adults and children. The interactive exhibits will especially appeal to kids and the art gallery to adults.
The museum opens Monday to Saturday 10-5 and also Sunday 11-5. Like I said, admission is FREE. Disabled access is fully in place and there space for coach drop-off. The museum has baby changing facilities, a cafe, audio guides and a shop. Further details can be found at http://www.leicester.gov.uk/museums or on 0116 225 4900.
And lastly, the Attenborough brothers in their youth spent many hours in the museum. If it good enough for them, it is certainly worth a try.
New Walk Museum and Art Gallery is situated within the historic New Walk area of the city. In 1849 the Literary and Philosophical Society formally presented to the town its various collections, which have grown and developed over the last 150 years into one of the premier museums in the region. New Walk Museum has been the inspiration for many people including Lord Attenborough and Sir David Attenborough, who pursued their love of art and natural history as a result of spending their formative years as regular visitors to the galleries. Leicester's oldest museum has wide-ranging collections spanning the natural and cultural world. The museum has a coffee shop, and is also a venue for musical performances and weddings.