Standing on over three hundred acres of pleasantly rolling wooded land and some nine miles to the southwest of Newcastle upon Tyne, Beamish, which means beautiful mansion in French, is a world famous open air museum and one of the major sights in the town of Stanley Durham County. Durham County is a county of contrasts: We have the remote and sparsely populated dales and moors of the Pennines characterize the interior, while nearer the county is highly urbanized and was once dominated by the coal mining industry. Like everything in our lives, it has its history and its things to be proud of. There is also much sight in Durham.
There is the Treasure Museum, Durham Heritage Center, Durham Cathedral, Blue Reef Aquarium, Witton Castle, Barnard Castle, and other sights. The Beamish Museum is popular and in fact it is the most popular and unique museum. Why is it so popular? The answer is rather clear. It is because it is an open air museum that is used for studying, collecting, preserving, interpreting, and exhibiting machines, objects, buildings, and information illustrating the development of industry and agriculture plus the way of life in the northern part of England.
It achieved the status of European Museum of the year in 1987. The Beamish Open Air Museum is an extraordinary day out for the whole family. It is a place where the past comes to life. Beamish isn't an ordinary museum with historical displays but a museum that demonstrates the recent history of the region in a living way and provides education and entertainment for visitors of all ages and interests. Beamish vividly recreates the life in the north of England in the early 1800s and early 1900s.
Beamish was established in 1970 under the direction of Frank Atkinson and was the first English museum to be financed and administered by a group of county councils .By the way, it was the first regional open air museum in England. The Beamish collection of items such as furniture, dishes, and much more were donated by local people primarily. The policy of unselective collecting was adopted by Atkinson. Most of the shops, houses, and other buildings have been deconstructed from the region and have be rebuilt her. A few places, like the Drift Mine, Home Farm, and Pockerly Manor were here already. The first exhibition was held in the 17th century in Beamish Hall which was a former residence of the Eden and the Shafto families in 1971. The sight was first opened to visitors in 1972. Beamish has its own railway system called Pockerly Wagonway that replicates two steam locomotives: one belonging to George Steven's that was the number one engine in 1825 and William Chapman's named the steam elephant in 1815. Visitors to the museum can ride the train which is the original passenger train in the world. The most popular attraction is the old Beamish town that has its own print works, dentist, stationers, cooperative stores, brewery, stables and public house. You can shop in the 1920s high street with and visit the grocery store, and haberdashery store. The Beamish Open Air Museum visitors can even taste old fashioned sherbet and boiled sweets from the confectionary shop and sweet factory. Occupying three hundred acres, the Beamish Open Air Museum has a wealth a various displays and it covers all of the museum costs which are about three million a year. And it isn't an easy task. The funding is 95 percent self funded. The Beamish museum has over 35,000 visitors a year.
Despite such a large number of visitors the Beamish museum goes on with its development and according to the latest news, it recreates Victorian time. The development will include a 300 bedroom suite, a new visitor's center, a restaurant, a wildlife area, and a cinema. If you have never been to Beamish, you will visit this wonderful and stunning place that will bring you from the present to the past.