foundation of Eyam Museum was inspired by Clarence Daniel,
a lifelong resident of Eyam who collected local fossils,
minerals, archaeological material, and any documents and
papers related to the village and its history. He ran
a small private museum in his house, but was always thwarted
in attempts to set up a public museum. His collection
was passed to the Village Society on his death in 1987,
and it was decided that this should form the basis of
small group of enthusiasts formed Eyam
Museum Ltd., and a larger group of volunteers catalogued
the collection over a period of months. It was all boxed
and sent for storage with the Derbyshire Museum Service
at Darley Dale.
search for a site began. A number of possible sites came
to nothing, but Geoff Ward, the Secretary at that time,
refused to be beaten. At last the Methodist Church, whose
congregation had shrunk over the previous few years, offered
the use of the Chapel in Hawkhill Road. After a period
of frantic activity Eyam Museum opened on 23rd April 1994
as a small one-floor museum.
Ward applied for a Lottery Grant Application Pack on the
day that they became available, so that we were one of
the first eight grant recipients in early 1995. During
the winter of 1995/6 an extra floor was built. During
the next winter our display was completely re-designed
and rebuilt, and was officially reopened by the Duchess
of Devonshire on 9th May 1997.
1998 the option arose to purchase the building, ensuring
the long-term future of the museum. At that time the back
of the museum building consisted of a tumbledown shell
which housed a staff toilet and kitchen. A second Heritage
Lottery Fund grant was obtained, and this not only enabled
the purchase to be completed, but allowed the building
of a new kitchen and storage area, and a sizeable new
room which could be permanently furnished as a Chapel,
freeing our lecture room from the need to convert it into
a Chapel each weekend.
the winter of 2010/11 an extension was added to the back
of the building, and we were able to finance this ourselves.
The new room, "Eyam Connections" opened in March
July 2011 The Chapel was vacated by the Methodist Church,
and we plan to incorporate the space into the main museum.
main display has changed a little since 1997. A dramatic
diorama of a Derbyshire lead mine was added in 2002, and
a number of panels have been replaced in order to make
them more accessible, or to take account of new research.
museum is still staffed by volunteers, and attracts many
thousands of visitors, including school parties and students
carrying out research.