Exhibitions opening soon

Exhibitions for the summer season opening soon

Collecting the Past: the world under one roof

During the nineteenth century and early twentieth century, many local museums were set up with the intention of educating and entertaining the public.  

This was a time of no internet, no mobiles, no television and no cheap foreign holidays. Illustrations in books were few and far between and colour images even rarer. It was much harder to find out about the world than it is now, when we can immediately pull up images on our phone, or can afford to travel to see objects in their places of origin.  

Many museums had little or no money to buy artefacts, and relied on donations to fill their cases. The donations reflected the interests of the donors, and the museums could easily hold a mix of paintings, stuffed animals, geological specimens, ethnographic and archaeological objects collected from all around the world.  

Changes in society over the last 150 years mean that most local museums nowadays tell the story of their own local area, but their stores still contain objects from elsewhere from the time when they were telling a much wider story. 

This exhibition looks at some of the archaeological material from outside Britain that ended up in four of the local museums of Tyne and Wear.


Image: Late Antique textile from Egypt depicting a hare eating fruit

Streets Above: photographs of the roads and buildings that covered Roman Wallsend

In the 1840s, iron shipbuilding came to the Tyne. As the industry grew, new companies merged and emerged. In the 1880s, business was booming and workers came to Wallsend looking to work in the yards. Due to this new influx of people, a builder acquired the site of the fort to build the much-needed housing.    

The fort disappeared under a series of houses and streets and was soon destined to remain hidden from view for almost a century. 

This exhibition consists of a selection of photographs of the roads, buildings and terraced houses built over the Roman fort, its bathhouse and the surrounding area.  

Image courtesy of Joe McCarty: Gerald Street, Wallsend. c.1966