Press releases and Media Content

Press Release

Summer activities for kids at The Beacon Museum


A RANGE of exciting activities will be held at The Beacon Museum this summer.
Both free and ticketed events will be on offer for visitors of the Whitehaven museum’s feature exhibition – Discover the Vikings.
Alongside Viking themed activities, the museum will be hosting activities exploring metal detecting, film animation, LEGO bricks and even superhero Thor’s wayward brother Loki.
Viking themed activity sessions include:
• Vikings of Cumbria – local historian and author Peter Fox speaks of how the Vikings came to be in Cumbria. Mr Fox will be reading extracts from his upcoming Viking book series, The Wolves of Dumnonia, which launches officially in 2020.
• Take part in a Viking themed creative writing competition judged by Peter Fox.
• Metal detecting sessions – hosted by two local metal detectorists Justin Bell and Daniel Boakes, the sessions will focus on their discovery of Viking treasure in Beckermet.
• Legend of Loki – storyteller Steve Wharton will be recanting myths around Norse god, Loki. Mr Wharton will provide a Cumbrian twist to the tale through story and song on August 17.
• Learn how to write in Norse Runes.
• Design your own Norse god.
Sessions run throughout the summer holidays with the exhibition running to September 29.
Other sessions on offer over the summer are:
• Canon Summer School – 60, free, one-day workshop spaces are on offer to local young people interested in film, animation and sound. Sessions will run in late July and early August.
• LEGO brick science – in celebration of 150 years since Dimitri Mendeleev invented the periodic table, an attempt will be made to construct the world’s largest LEGO brick periodic table, during August.
For more information on all events and activities, and to book online, visit or call 01946 592302. You can also visit the museum’s facebook page at


Saddle up for next Beacon event

06 November 2018

For Immediate Release

A TASTE of the real Wild West awaits visitors to the next Talking Tuesday event at the Beacon Museum in Whitehaven.

Col Tom McMullen, a passionate speaker on US history, has visited and studied the Little Big Horn battlefield, wagon trails in Nebraska, Apache trails in Arizona, and Indian battlefields in Montana.

His fascinating presentation will be on Tuesday November 13 at the Beacon Portal at 2pm.

Col McMullen will provide an insight into life at the time of General Custer and Sitting Bull, and debunk some Hollywood myths about the Wild West.

Born and raised in Workington, Col McMullen had a distinguished career in the Royal Navy and developed an interest in American history over four decades. He has also written a fictional book set in the Great Plains of America.

The popular Talking Tuesdays events relaunched recently, after a three year hiatus, with a well-received talk by Joseph Ritson on the stories of what came after the WW1 for West Cumbria.

The monthly events are open to all ages and cost £4.50, which includes hot drinks and cakes.


Festive fun at The Beacon Museum

06 November 2018

For Immediate Release

FUN family festivities are on offer at The Beacon Museum, Whitehaven, this December.

Christmas crafts, seasonal games, and a special Santa’s Grotto will be on offer for children of all ages, each Saturday and Sunday in December.

The popular interactive Santa Trail will also return for 2018, this year in search of Santa’s missing reindeer.

Activities will take place from Saturday, December 1, between 11am and 4pm each day. No booking is required.

Pamela Telford, Visitor Services Manager at The Beacon Museum, said: “We have welcomed hundreds of children each Christmas who love exploring in the museum and the fun Christmas activities that we offer.

“This year we wanted to offer them a festive experience like no other. We will provide lots of imaginative activities and games and a gift for all children who visit.”

Family activities are a must over the festive season, and a packed exhibition schedule offers visitors multiple reasons to visit The Beacon Museum.

The Copeland Pass offers Copeland residents free access to the museum galleries during this period, including the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, and the innovative Art of Reprocessing exhibition, which highlights the story of the THORP plant at Sellafield.

Entry to the Christmas activities will cost £5 per child, and children should be accompanied at all times. Those who live in Copeland can also visit the museum for free using the Copeland Pass. Registration is available on arrival.



Stunning poppy installation to go on display

02 November 2018

For Immediate Release

A STUNNING installation of over 1,000 handmade poppies will go on display in Whitehaven to mark 100 years since the 1918 armistice.

Created by hundreds of local schoolchildren and members of the public over past weeks, the remembrance project has been organised by The Beacon Museum and is encouraging participants to reuse plastic bottles to create their own plastic poppies.

It will go on display from Wednesday, November 7 along West Strand on the harbourside.

Poppies were first depicted as a symbol of remembrance in John McCrae’s 1915 poem, ‘In Flanders Fields’. The analogy soon took root in the years after the end of World War One and became an emotive icon of sacrifice for those who served and were lost in battle.

Magda Jackson, a Visitor Host at the museum, has been creating poppies with participants.

She said: “This type of poppy has helped to focus minds on those who served in conflicts past. The fact that every poppy is unique reflects the fact that those who served and died were not faceless names, but people with unique stories and familial ties to the area.”

Alan Gillon, Learning and Engagement Officer, added: “In times of war, these symbols represented the sacrifice of those whose who placed the needs of the nation above their own.

“For younger generations, the recycling message also demonstrates a similar perspective on what is shaping their world. It is an important message that despite being in a time of relative peace, major world issues will require them to put wider needs ahead of their own in their day to day lives.”

The project is running in conjunction with the museum’s exhibition, A Brave New World: The Armistice and Beyond, which runs until Sunday, November 11. On the final day, which is Remembrance Sunday, the exhibit – and the whole museum – are free to visit. Poppy-making stations will also remain open until November 11. The poppy installation will be on display until Sunday, November 18.

For more information, telephone The Beacon Museum on 01946 592302 or visit <


Prestigious wildlife exhibition heads to Whitehaven

16 October 2018

For Immediate Release

STUNNING images of the natural world will go on display when the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition arrives in Whitehaven.

The world-renowned exhibition, on loan from the Natural History Museum in London, opens at The Beacon Museum on November 10 and will feature exceptional images which capture fascinating animal behavior, spectacular species and the breathtaking diversity of the natural world.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year is the most prestigious photography event of its kind, providing a global platform that showcases the natural world’s most astonishing sights.

From its launch in 1965 when it attracted 361 entries, today the competition receives over 45,000 entries from 95 countries.

This year’s 100 award-winning images will embark on an international tour, including its stop in Whitehaven, that will allow them to be seen by over a million people.

Elizabeth Kwasnik, Director of The Beacon Museum, said: “This exhibition has a universal appeal that always draws a warm response from a local and wider audiences.

“The standard is world-class, as per usual, and the collection will appeal to visitors on various levels, be that technical, artistic or ecological.”

Jan English, Head of Touring Exhibitions at the Natural History Museum, said: “Wildlife Photographer of the Year celebrates the very best nature photography, and it is consistently one of our most successful touring exhibitions, enjoyed by millions every year.

“These images tell thought-provoking stories about our planet that prompts us all to think differently about the natural world and the future we want to create.”

Wildlife Photographer of the Year runs from November 10 to January 13. The exhibition is open to holders of the Copeland Pass, which is available to Copeland residents for free. For more information, telephone 01946 592302 or visit

Press Release

‘Dino Fest’ back from extinction at Whitehaven museum

10 August 2018

For Immediate Release

BACK by popular demand, dinosaurs will be roaming round The Beacon Museum for the second instalment of ‘Dino Fest.’
Visitors will have the chance to discover critters that lived amongst the dinosaurs through the expertly crafted fossil feeling sessions, on Saturday, August 25.
Live critters will also be crawling around at the ‘Meet the Minibeasts’ handling sessions where visitors can explore creepy crawlies whose existence dates back to the age of the dinosaurs.
The first Dino Fest took place on July 28 and 29 in support of the Taste Cumbria festival. The workshops support the museum’s current feature exhibition ‘Brick Dinos’ which features a range of dinosaurs created from thousands of LEGO® bricks.
Pamela Telford, Visitor Services Manager at the Beacon Museum, said: “Dino Fest weekend was very busy, and we felt that lots missed out on some of the events due to them booking up so quickly.
“We had nearly 800 participants in two days and, being a small team trying to live up to demand, we felt that it was only right to round the summer off with that festival feeling once again.
“We wanted to offer visitors a chance to try out all our activities in one day before the summer holidays draw to a close.
“Visitors can meet and touch the mini beasts, handle real fossils and visit our LEGO brick cinema, as well as trying our Brick Dino exhibition.”
The museum’s Brick Dino exhibition has proven to be a roaring success with visitor figures soaring by almost fifty per cent in comparison to last year.
For more information go to To book places on the Meet the Minibeast workshops call 01946 592302.

Press Releases

September 2018

Concerning Armistice Exhibition- for more information contact via the Contact Us button above. Series for CNMedia written by Jessica Leary. 

Press Release

03 August 2018

For Immediate Release

The media is invited to attend dinosaur themed cookery sessions at 1pm and 2.30pm on Tuesday, August 7.
Charismatic local chef and food historian John Crouch will be leading the cookery capers, for all ages, joined by his assistant chefs, T-Rexs Chomper and Stomper.
If you would like to attend the event please contact Christina Cremins at or on 01946 59 8390.

New book explores Whitehaven’s heritage

Press Release

23 July 2018

For Immediate Release

A NEW book exploring the literary and artistic heritage of mining in Whitehaven has been released.

From the Mines to the Mountains, by Lancaster University lecturer Christopher Donaldson and author/publisher Stephen Matthews, attempts to create a fresh outlook on the harsh industrial landscape portrayed in art and the written word from the 1750s; a period of rural fascination and burgeoning creativity in West Cumbria.

Mr Donaldson explores how the landscapes inspired the creatives of that era to recreate the places and industries of West Cumbria in a way that had never been attempted. This includes Cumbrian poet John Dalton, whose 1755 work A Descriptive Poem triggered a flurry of interest in the region amongst romanticist poets and early tourists, and esteemed painter Matthias Reed, who famously depicted the panoramas of Georgian Whitehaven at its peak.

Mr Donaldson said: “A Descriptive Poem affords a unique glimpse of the industrial wonders and the scenery of Georgian Cumberland and Westmorland.

“Ranging from the mines of Whitehaven to the mountains of the central Lakes, Dalton’s verses describe the journey of two young women, members of the Lowther family, who toured the two counties during the 1750s. Dalton’s descriptions captured the imagination of his contemporaries, many of whom were enticed by the poem to visit the places it portrays.”

Mr Donaldson says that the role of Whitehaven’s pits was significant in the creation of a cultural landscape that today warrants World Heritage Site status.

He added: “Dalton’s words paved the way not only for the early visitors who are often credited with the ‘discovery’ of the Lake District, but also for the Romantic poets who followed in their footsteps.”

In addition to presenting a facsimile of the first edition of Dalton’s poems, this volume also includes a selection of other rare poetic descriptions of scenes in Whitehaven, Workington and Keswick from the 1750s.

Collectively, these poems illustrate how, long before the Romantics, writers found inspiration in the region’s landscape and its industry. The texts are accompanied by an introductory essay and extensive explanatory notes.

From the Mines to the Mountains is on sale at The Beacon Museum’s shop and Bookcase in Carlisle. Matthias Reed’s Bird’s Eye View of Whitehaven is on display at The Beacon Museum. For more information, contact The Beacon Museum on 01946 592302 or visit


Summer sun and dino dress ups at the Beacon Museum

16 July 2018

THERE are some fantastic family activities at Whitehaven’s Beacon Museum during the summer holidays. They accompany the amazing Brick Dinos LEGO exhibition, which runs until the end of September.

Every day from July 21, prehistoric posers can take their own ‘dino selfies’ at the museum. Props and dinosaur costumes will be on hand along with the terrifying T Rex twins Chomper and Stomper at 11.30am and 2pm.

Visitors can also drop in to a free ‘make your own dinosaur’ activity between 10am and 4pm each day.

Beacon Museum Development Manager, Alan Irwin, said: “This is a fantastic value day out for the family. We are adding these activities in with admission prices as we know it can be hard for families to do multiple activities due to costs.”
In conjunction with the Taste Cumbria festival in Whitehaven on July 28 and 29, the museum is also hosting Dino Fest, where thrill seekers can hold reptiles and bugs, dig for dinosaur bones and learn about these magnificent creatures through a range of events.
All details can be found at, on the museum’s Facebook pages, or by calling 01946 592302.

Notes for editors

For media enquiries, please contact Andrew Clarke on 01946 598353, Chrissie Cremins on 01946 598390 or Leila Cox on 01946 598315
Copeland Borough Council
Proud of our past. Energised for our future.
Working to improve lives, communities and the prosperity of Copeland.


Museum launches appeal for World War One artefacts

12 July 2018

THE Beacon Museum is appealing to the local public to help create a commemorative display later in the year.

A Brave New World will be held at the Whitehaven museum from October 6 to November 11, to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1918 armistice and its aftermath. This exhibition coincides with the centenary of the end of hostilities on the western front, and special events will be taking place across the borough in remembrance. The exhibition will explore what life was like for the returning service members and what came next as they transitioned from war to peacetime.

Alan Gillon, from the Beacon Museum, said: “This is about local people who came back to a changed world. Many of their friends and family did not return with them and it was a massively challenging time for people who had been through so much. The First World War was very real for people on the home front also, with the U-boat attack on Lowca in 1915 an obvious reminder that the threat was not far removed. Many are also not aware of the many Belgian refugees who lived and worked in the area. There were over a quarter of a million stayed in Britain during and after the war.”

The Beacon Museum is appealing for items to display in its temporary World War One exhibition.

Mr Gillon added: “We want small artefacts that have links to this area from that time. If it is connected to life during or immediately after the First World War, then it will be considered by our curatorial team. We intend to create a small display of locally loaned items that will complement our collection of artefacts, such as the famous Victoria Cross medal that was bestowed upon Private Abraham Acton.”

The exhibition will culminate in an Armistice Day ceremony, when local schools will be participating in a memorial display. The aim is for the story panels from the exhibition to then be toured around local parishes in the ensuing months for locals to see the displays in their own districts. Anyone who would like more information on hosting the display during late 2018/early 2019 is asked to contact the museum.

Anyone who has an object that they would be happy to loan for this exhibition is asked to email the curatorial team at Emails should include a digital image of the item with dimensions, description and condition. The team will reply as soon as possible, however due to space and possible duplication, it is possible that not all objects that are offered will be used for the exhibition.


Notes for editors

For media enquiries, please contact Andrew Clarke on 01946 598353, Chrissie Cremins on 01946 598390 or Leila Cox on 01946 598315

Copeland Borough Council

Proud of our past. Energised for our future.

Working to improve lives, communities and the prosperity of Copeland.


Local artefact to feature in the Great Exhibition of the North

27 June 2018

A TREASURED artefact is featuring in the acclaimed Great Exhibition of the North this summer.

The renowned Spedding Wheel, currently housed at The Beacon Museum, Whitehaven, is featuring in ‘The History of the North 100 Objects’ online exhibition.
The lifesaving implement revolutionised mining safety practices in the Georgian era, and now showcases a part of Whitehaven’s coal mining heritage.
The exhibition highlights the turning points in science, industry, popular culture and public affairs through the ages.
The 80-day long festival aims to celebrate the North of England’s pioneering spirit through a series of exhibits, live performances, displays and experiences.
Carlisle Spedding invented the steel mill in 1730. He was an engineer, architect and inventor, whose inspiration challenged and changed the lives of many.
His steel mills were initially used in the Lowther family-owned Whitehaven coal mines, in an attempt to save workers from igniting the dangerous build-up of methane gas by the use of candles for light.
Fire-damp explosions killed or maimed hundreds of miners throughout England and the introduction of the steel mill was thought as progression in saving the lives of the miners.
Alan Gillon, Learning and Engagement Officer at The Beacon Museum, has completed wide research on the background of the object, and he comments: “The story of our mining heritage is clearly one that deserves national recognition, and to see this object represent the innovation and bravery of the miners from bygone times is great to see. The event is one not to miss as it truly is a one off.
“Even better is the fact that due to modern technology, the object hasn’t had to leave the museum and is represented digitally within the Great Exhibition of the North. So, visitors in Whitehaven can still see the real thing.”
The Great Exhibition of the North runs in locations around Newcastle until September 9. For more information and to view the online exhibition go to

Notes for editors

For media enquiries, please contact Andrew Clarke on 01946 598353, Chrissie Cremins on 01946 598390 or Leila Cox on 01946 598315
Copeland Borough Council
Proud of our past. Energised for our future.
Working to improve lives, communities and the prosperity of Copeland.

For all Beacon Museum media enquiries please contact

Alan Irwin:  Business Development Manager at the Beacon Museum

01946 592302

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