Media releases

The Beacon Museum to reopen its doors

13 May 2021

For Immediate Release

THE WORLD’S best wildlife photography will be exhibited in Whitehaven when The Beacon Museum reopens its doors next week.

The harbourside museum, which has been closed for more than four months, in line with Government restrictions, is set to re-open on Tuesday, May 18.

The Beacon Museum is one of only five venues, outside of London, to host the prestigious exhibition, which features 99 awe-inspiring images from around the world.

The exhibition will also be accompanied by exciting animal related activities for children during the half-term week (May 31 – June 4).

In addition to the prestigious exhibition on offer to visitors, the museum has also made a significant investment in its digital offer to visitors with several new attractions installed during the lockdown period.

The Beacon Sparks project aims to revitalise the visualisation of local history with subjects including history, art and science transformed for visitors to learn and enjoy.

The interactives include:

  • Whitehaven’s much celebrated geological landscape being brought to life by the Reverend Ceasar Caine, a local vicar and keen amateur archaeologist and geologist during the late 19th century. Audiences can explore Caine’s hut in discovering the wonders that lie below the earth’s surface around Copeland.
  • Visitors being able to steer their own ship into an ever-evolving Whitehaven harbour, with the changes to the landscape depicted within a unique interactive game.
  • Budding merchants trying their hand at trading around the world using some of the routes and ships that made Whitehaven a world renowned trading port.
  • An audio-visual tour around Whitehaven brings to life some of the landmarks of the local skyline, along with some lesser-known stories that surround them.
  • Visitors can now follow the step-by-step process involved in the creation of the Irton Sword.
  • A Roman soldier enlightens visitors about life in the area during the Roman period.
  • A reinvention of three of the museum’s flipbook experiences support the telling of fascinating local stories.
  • A caricature Lowther family tree including pop up profiles of key family members.
  • A digital dress up interactive allows visitors to try on garments held at the museum from as far back as the early 19th century.

Heather Holmes, Customer and Visitor Experience Manager, said: “We’re thrilled to be reopening with one of our most exciting exhibitions in our calendar.

“The world renowned Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition entices visitors from all over the north, who travel far and wide to experience the stunning portraits of species from across the globe.

“The photographs are exclusively entered into the competition, so it’s the only chance for people to view these phenomenal portraits of some of the world’s most fascinating creatures up close.

“There has also been a number of renovations to the museum whilst the doors have been closed, which have revitalised our exhibitions using modern technology to bring history to life.”

For up-to-date information on what is on offer at the museum, visit


Cumbria’s Beacon Museum to re-open with stunning Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition

11 May 2021

Incredible images unveiled as national exhibition arrives in Cumbria

The Beacon Museum in Whitehaven will welcome visitors back with one of the most prestigious photography events in the world – The Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition.

The museum doors re-open on Tuesday, May 18 when visitors can view stunning images from the world-renowned competition which captures the breath-taking diversity of the natural world.

The museum is the only venue in the North West of England to host the exhibition.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year is on loan from the Natural History Museum in London.

“We are very excited to be re-opening our doors once again with the world-famous Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition,” says Alan Gillon, The Beacon Museum’s Learning Officer.

“It is one of the most popular photography shows in the world and visitors are sure to find the exhibition fascinating, inspiring and provocative. It’s suitable for all ages and celebrates the drama and splendour of the natural world.”

Wildlife Photographer of the Year has showcased the natural world’s most astonishing and challenging sights for over 50 years. The competition receives over 49,000 entries from all over the world.

This year’s award-winning images will embark on an international tour that will allow them to be seen by over a million people.

“The Beacon Museum is delighted to stage an exhibition of such global importance,” says Alan Gillon. “We hope visitors will take the opportunity to come and view it in Whitehaven before it moves off around the world.”

The exhibition is just one of the museum’s four floors of fascinating exhibits which this year include new interactive family friendly digital displays:

  • A Virtual Reality “Down the Pit” coal mining experience
  • Digital “ghosts” from Whitehaven’s past talk about their lives
  • A “talking” Roman soldier tells of invasion and conquest in Cumbria
  • A digital “dress-up” game lets you try on historic clothes and take photos!

The museum is working to a reduced capacity until pandemic restrictions ease so it is recommended that visitors book tickets as soon as possible. 

Exhibition information: Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition runs from: Tuesday May 18 – Sunday July 4

Dates and times: Tuesday – Saturday: 10am – 4.30pm. Sunday: 11am – 4pm

To book tickets: Call 01946 592302 or email

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