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The History of Our Museum

A guide to the origin of this museum and the art inside.

The building here at Chope Art and Craft Museum is steeped in history. We have been here since 1967 but the building is well over 100 years old.  Before us it was a natural history museum so there was a massive change when we came in.

Our founding principle was to make the arts available to all, to educate the younger generation and really keep the spirit of crafting alive for many years to come.

Back in the late 1960’s there was over 100 different exhibitions and we employed a staff of around 15 people. Unfortunately museums in the modern age are nowhere near as popular, so now to keep that volume of displays and to staff as many people would be virtually impossible.

The building itself is a traditional Victorian build and there are even reports that Queen Victoria visited the site and to lay the foundation stone. However there is no factual evidence to back up the local folklore that is discussed around the town.

The museums glass windows, textiles, ironwork, paintings and woods date back to the 18th century and come from all over the world. Heavily influenced by the British and European skilled crafts but we have influences and pieces from the Middle East, North America and even Africa.

The British collections have always been the highlight of all our displays and the founders of the Museum wanted this to be the case. It enables us to explain the history of the design, the different skills that were utilised and show the processes and techniques that hundreds of thousands of people still enjoy today.

Contemporary Craftsmanship has been updated and modernized as the years have evolved. The museum remains true to its founding mission of promoting exceptionally high quality craft work, art and acquiring the work for the displays has always been one of the most important parts of our process.

The Chope Art and Craft Museum today offers our visitors the chance to explore the history, enjoy the contemporary and have a guided tour around the displays, galleries and building.

We have special events promoting local crafts people and often host craft fairs allowing local producers to display their work.

Visit our HOMEPAGE to find our opening times and location