Small museum punches above its weight

Curator: David Hunt
Curator: David Hunt
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It may be small, but one Leyland museum is on a par with the likes of The British Museum when it comes to how well its run.

South Ribble Museum and Exhibition Centre is a tiny timber-framed Tudor building, tucked away in the grounds of Leyland Parish Church.

Helping hand: Volunteer Michael Landmark

Helping hand: Volunteer Michael Landmark

Yet the near 500-year-old former school has earned national recognition - joining the ranks of the mighty National History Museum and The Victoria and Albert Museum.

The museum in Church Road has gained the seal of approval through Arts Council England’s new accreditation scheme.

The scheme acts as a benchmark, setting nationally agreed standards for museums in the UK that can demonstrate their commitment to managing collections effectively for the enjoyment and benefit of users.

Councillor Phil Smith, South Ribble Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for regeneration, leisure and healthy communities, said: “It’s a small, charming building, and for a small museum it punches well above its weight with the quality of exhibitions we are able to hold.

Small is beautiful: The South Ribble Museum

Small is beautiful: The South Ribble Museum

“This is mainly because of our museum curator David Hunt and the 60 volunteers from the local community who make sure it is really well run.

“It’s very well thought of within the community itself and in the world of museums and exhibitors.

“They have confidence in loaning their exhibits to us because they know we will look after them and present them in the best possible way.”

Accreditation is designed to help museums improve how they are run through effective forward planning, balancing aspects of collection management and being responsive to visitors’ needs and expectations.

South Ribble Museum houses collections and displays reflecting the archaeological, industrial and social history of the borough.

As well as collecting and conserving historical items, the museum also aims to increase public understanding and enjoyment of the borough’s cultural heritage.

It hosts a programme of events and talks, such as The Golden Age of the Steam Railway exhibition, currently running until February 2.

Forthcoming events include the Lancashire Monochrome photographic exhibition, from February 5 to March 2, and South Ribble High School’s art exhibition from March 5 to 26.

The museum is open on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10am to 4pm, on Thursdays from 1pm to 4pm, and on Saturdays from 10am to 1pm. Admission is free.