In 1867 the Powysland Club was founded by members from in and around Welshpool who shared an interest in history, especially of Mid Wales. Several had their own collections of interesting items and it was decided to bring these artefacts together to form a museum. A piece of land was purchased on the corner of Red Bank and Salop Road and a Museum was erected and opened in 1874. In 1887, to mark the Jubilee of Queen Victoria, the museum was transferred under the trust to the town of Welshpool.
In 1974 the running of the museum became the responsibility of Powys County Council, but during then 1980s it became obvious that the old building could no longer fulfil the requirements of a modern museum. The collection was duly moved to a former warehouse on the Montgomery Canal, which had been extensively but carefully renovated so as to retain its character whilst providing a secure and comfortable environment for the collection and visitors alike. The new museum was opened on May 30th 1990. In 1993 the museum won the Gulbenkian Award for 'most improved museum in a rural area'.
Powysland Museum, The Canal Wharf, Welshpool, Powys SY21 7AQ
Telephone 01938 554656
The displays illustrate the history and development of life in Montgomeryshire from the earliest prehistoric settlers to the 20th century population. Within the entrance hall to the museum the visitor is reminded of the initial purpose of the building as a warehouse. On the ground floor is an exhibition of agricultural tools, stock-farming implements and dairying equipment, which reflects the fundamental part played by farming in the growth of the economy and society of the area since the very earliest times. Also on show are collections depicting the development of the canal and the railway systems which have similarly had a tremendous effect on the character of the county
A display of old photographs and maps gives a picturesque introduction to Welshpool and Montgomeryshire. Through the second room on the ground floor, which has changing exhibitions, the visitor can use the stair or the lift to the first floor.
In the archaeological gallery the displays start with an exhibition on the history of the collections and the museum. Then the displays focus on the history of Montgomeryshire, and take the visitors on a chronological tour from the first farmers in the Neolithic period, through the Bronze and Iron Ages, the coming of the Romans, the attacks of the Vikings and the growth of Christianity. The archaeological finds include both those made by the members of the Powysland Club and those which have come from more recent scientific excavations carried out by the Clwyd -Powys Archaeological Trust.
In the Social History gallery are exhibitions on many different aspects of 19th and 20th century life, including displays on the cooper, the shoemaker, the Montgomeryshire Yeomanry Cavalry, World War 1, textiles, the Victorian kitchen, and World War 2, to mention just some of the attractions.
Canal Trail available on request. Also Town Trail including the unique Welshpool Cockpit.
Monday: 11am-1pm & 2-5pm
Tuesday: 11am-1pm & 2-5pm
Thursday: 11am-1pm & 2-5pm
Friday: 11am-1pm & 2-5pm
Saturday: 10am-1pm & 2-5pm
Sunday: 10am-1pm & 2-5pm
Car parking is available in nearby streets and car parks. Car parking for disabled drivers at the museum.
A toilet and lift are available for the use of disabled visitors. There is access to all display areas.
The museum holds temporary exhibitions such as Hats Off and What's hatching at the Museum? in 2002, George Best in 2003 and Caroline Mathilde 2004.
Enquiries and objects for identification can be left at the museum and will be dealt with at the earliest convenience.
School classes and other parties are very welcome. Talks, trails, worksheets and hands-on sessions can be arranged by prior request.