England Travel

3 Museums in Middlesborough

I’ve named my post 3 Museums in Middlesborough, but the truth is that only two are in Middlesborough and the other is in Stockton-on-Tees. I can’t imagine a better way to talk about these locations though, as 3 Museums in County Durham would have sounded a bit odd. Usually I would post about each museum separately, but these three weren’t so big as to justify three posts. At the same time, I wanted to talk about all three of them, for different reasons.

Preston Park Museum

First location is Preston Park Museum. It is a lovely museum with items on display over two storeys and a special exhibition. On the grounds there is a Butterfly House, but it is closed in winter. I would have loved to visit given the chance. Even so, Preston Park Museum has a lot of things to offer. We got there a bit late and so we’ve decided not to visit the special exhibition as we didn’t have enough time.

Artefact at the Preston Park Museum

There are a lot of wonderful things on display in the museum. I liked the guns and swords a lot, as they have so many details. Unfortunately there was not a lot of information on them.

Wedgwood on display at Preston Park Museum

The Wedgwood pottery is stunning, of course.

Display at Preston Park Museum

Preston Park Grounds seen from the Museum

The views from the museum are stunning. There is a mesh blind, to protect the items on display, but you can still see the beautiful landscape outside.

Preston Park Museum. Alley with shops

The museum has its own alley with shops, including a tea room. We’ve had a look around. During the summer months it must be so busy there.

Preston Park Museum, display

Greenhouse at Preston Park Museum

We finished our visit with the greenhouse. It looked stunning on a winter’s day.

Plant in a greenhouse Preston Park Museum

Preston Park Museum & Grounds is in Yarm Rd, Stockton-on-Tees, TS18 3RH. They have free car park and the entry fee is only £2.50. If you are a member of Art Fund, then you get free entry. The special exhibitions are paid separately. There is also a playground for children.

Next museum I’m going to talk about is the Dorman Museum. It is a small museum, free. I only picked two pictures from our visit because I wasn’t impressed with the museum. Some of the panels were poorly written, comparing scientific knowledge – the Big Bang – with some myths from an Egyptian religion (if I remember correctly, it was a religion anyway). Seeing that in a museum was puzzling and well, a bit infuriating. One would imagine the staff in a museum would be scientifically minded, not prone to superstitions and myths.

Anyway, I did find two interesting things. They have a whole room with birds and eggs. It is an impressive collection and they do mention that all the eggs were taken 100 years or so ago and that today is illegal to remove eggs from nests.

Room at the Dorman Museum

The difference between eggs is quite surprising, the colours and the sizes are very different. It was fascinating to see them.

Artefact at the Dorman Museum

How cute is this mug made by Middlesbrough Pottery? It didn’t say the year it was made in, but the other items nearby were from late 19th century, so I assume that this is from the same period.

Dorman Museum is in Linthorpe Rd, Middlesbrough, TS5 6LA. They have a free car park during the Sundays, but not sure how it is in the rest of the week.

Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art or MIMA is the last museum I’m going to talk about in this post.

MIMA arhitecture

The architecture of the museum is stunning. The museum though is not as big as I was expecting it to be. We’ve seen a couple of special exhibitions that were still on the day we visit the museum. One of them was very interesting, about transgender people and their struggle to be accepted. The thing I was most surprised is that they had such a controversial subject and the exhibition was pro integration, of course, but the toilets were segregated by gender. Maybe they didn’t realize that their transgender visitors have to decide what facilities to use and if they might face backlash from the other, less accepting, visitors. When I mentioned this to my husband, he said that he noticed the same thing too.

In another exhibition, I saw something even more puzzling, a set of four paintings, one pro-Communism. From my point of view, any acceptable political discourse should range between left-wing and right-wing, but surely not fascism and communism. I was disappointed to see that in a museum. Also, it doesn’t fit with the other exhibition on transgender people. Communists are not big on integration and acceptance.

On a personal note, I’m wondering if the pro-communism artist spent the holidays in countries like Russia and North Korea, preferably in a small village, among the locals, to see the full impact of the communism in action and not a fantasied utopia based on ideologies. My husband commented that the artist might not even realize that he/she was able to paint and display in a public museum the artwork because we live in a democratic country.

Display at MIMA

On a happier note, I loved these prints by Viva Talbot from around 1930. They depict the industrial process of manufacturing steel plates.

Their exhibitions change regularly, so by the time you visit, something else might be on display.

MIMA – Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, is in Centre Square, Middlesbrough, TS1 2AZ. There is a Pay & Display car park nearby.

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