The museum's history

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The 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 a museum.

A 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.

The 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.

Geoff 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.

In 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.

In 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 2012.

In July 2011 The Chapel was vacated by the Methodist Church, and we plan to incorporate the space into the main museum.

The 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.

The museum is still staffed by volunteers, and attracts many thousands of visitors, including school parties and students carrying out research.

Clarence Daniel
Geoff Ward
The Eyam Connections room


Registered charity No 702067

Telephone & Fax: 01433 631371