Buxton Museum & Art Gallery, Terrace Rd,, Buxton, SK17 6DA – Visit Now
Buxton is the capital of the Peaks, and as such its art gallery and museum offers a great place to start by way of introduction. The diverse and somewhat eclectic range of collections span the art, geology, archaeology and history of Derbyshire, going 360 million years back in time. From ice age animal bones and carboniferous fossils, to prosthetic hips and a hoard of locks, keys and strange curios relating to the great Hungarian-American stunt artist Harry Houdini (acquired by a local amateur escapologist), it really has it all.
The museum’s permanent art collection has a strong emphasis on painting, including works by major 20th century British artists Duncan Grant, Augustus John and Theodore Major, as well as the French painter Edgar Chahine and Russian-born Marc Chagall. A year-round programme of changing exhibitions showcasing work by local artists runs alongside, in addition to the annual Derbyshire Open Art competition. Meanwhile, a unique accrual of over 200 decorative objects made of Ashford Black Marble provides an interesting connection to nearby honeypot village Ashford-on-the-Water.
The new ‘Wonders of the Peak’ display transports visitors on a journey through space and time featuring objects retrieved from the British Museum in London, social history artefacts, commissioned artworks, interactive maps, and documentary films. Download the Wonders of the Peak app to access a digitised version, designed for use whilst out in the landscape.
Fans of Manchester Museum should pay a visit to the Boyd Dawkins Study, which houses the library, manuscripts, scientific equipment and personal ornaments of its curator, the British geologist and archaeologist Sir William Boyd Dawkin, and those of his colleague and close friend, the fossil expert and conchologist Dr J Wilfrid Jackson. Rock enthusiasts, don’t miss the nearby mineral display, boasting Blue John and other prized local specimens (then head underground to explore Buxton’s famous Poole’s Cavern).
Pair your visit to Buxton Museum and Art Gallery with a look around The Green Man, which is located just behind and run by an independent group of High Peak artists and makers.