Kendal's first museum was formed in 1796 by William Todhunter who exhibited a collection of fossils, plants, minerals, animals and antiques. In 1835 the Kendal Literary and Scientific Society took over the museum. The society included among its members Dr Thomas Gough, Professor Adam Sedgwick, John Ruthven and Dr John Dalton. As the collection grew, the Museum had to be rehoused several times. As well as a wide range of fascinating temporary exhibitions, they house wonderful and unusual collections of objects and artifacts covering the subjects of archaeology, geology, natural and social history - both local and global. It is truly an eclectic collection of fascinating objects. The specimen of ‘Brain coral’ (Maeandropora sp) was part of the old Kendal Museum collection in the early 1900’s and had been presented by the Hon. Mrs Howard of Levens Hall, from the old museum in Stricklandgate c1913. Its display stand was custom made by Gillows of Lancaster in Mahogany. This specimen is believed to have come originally from the Indian Ocean. Corals grow slowly, about 6mm each year. The coral specimen is over 480mm in diameter, so it was probably over 80 years old when it was collected. The life span of the largest brain corals is over 200 years.The Torah scroll is a copy of the Pentateuch and would have originally been used in a synagogue. It was displayed open in the museum in Kendal Museum in the 1930’s. The main scroll is on rollers but is now in 2 parts probably due to deterioration while on display. There is also part of second scroll which is rolled inside the larger. The longer scroll is 104 feet long and comprises of 80 sheep and goat skins.
The largest butterfly in the world. The species was named by Lord Walter Rothschild in 1907, in honour of Queen Alexandra, wife of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom. It is restricted to the forests of Oro Province in eastern Papua New Guinea. Now endangered, the population is restricted to approximately 100 square kilometres of coastal rainforest near Popondetta, Oro Province, Papua New Guinea. The major threat for this species is rain forest destruction for oil palm plantations. Because of its rarity this butterfly fetches a very high price on the black market. The tiny bronze Viking bowl mount was found near Arnside in 2001. It is only 3cm high and dominated by a stern human face with large oval eyes, down-turned mouth and ears sticking out at brow level. When complete it would have had a matching mask facing up, in mirror image from the bottom of the decorative panel. It is Irish in style and the round settings and cells in the central panel were inlaid with bright yellow enamel against a red background. This would have been an item valued for its decoration. Items like it were often carried by Viking raiders and settlers or traded as gifts or dowry items. This piece had been reused many times, as we can see from the additional holes drilled through it. In the World Wildlife Gallery Kendal Museum has on display the most modern scientific reconstruction in the UK. It’s the first Dodo ever to be in the north west of England and has been made by Carl Church, an international award winning bird taxidermist. The Dodo is the iconic image of extinction, everyone knows the expression ‘Dead as a Dodo’. Kendal museum has a large collection of world wide taxidermy containing numerous examples of extinct and endangered wildlife and the history of the Dodo serves as a salutory lesson. Two of our four galleries are accessible. They have a WC suitable for wheelchair users. Guide and Assistance dogs are welcome. There is space for buggies, wheelchairs and bags to be stored during your visit.
Location : Kendal Museum, Station Road, Kendal LA9 6BT.
Transport: Kendal (National Rail) is close by.
Opening Times: Tuesday to Saturday 10:00 to 16:00
Tickets : Adults £2.00 Children (+5) £2.00.
Tel: 01539 815597