The Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon, Barnstaple

4.5
The history of the museum building.

The most prominent building on the Square was built for William Thorne, in 1872. ( Thorne was a quarry owner and operator of the horse-drawn railway to Fremington Quay.) His new house was constructed of brick with decorative stone details.

It is said that Thorne never actually lived in the house.

The house was a sizeable building, with a grand staircase and 15 servants' bells in the back corridor.

Connecting wires run all over the building.

The house was bought by William Rock (Barnstaple benefactor) in 1887, to house the North Devon Athenaeum, a free library and Museum.

It was opened to the public the following year.

The Athenaeum inherited the collections of the Barnstaple Literary and Scientific Institution - founded by William Rock in 1845 and continued to accumulate a wide variety of objects, papers and books.

From 1956, the Athenaeum shared the building with the local branch of the County Library Service. Local people remember coming to the Athenaeum to do their homework.

In 1988, North Devon District Council bought the building.

The Athenaeum, its collection of documents and the County Library moved to purpose-built premises in Tuly Street.

Many of the Athenaeum's objects remain in the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon.

These include the rocks and minerals in the first gallery, local paintings and part of the pottery collection.
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The Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon Reviews
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145 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • Great place to explore and learn new things at. There’s a little tea shop at the end also. Staff are all volunteers so are very passionate too.  more »
  • Well worth a visit especially as it's free entry. Lots of exhibits to look at especially the skeleton!  more »
  • The museum is conveniently located at the heart of the town center beside the River Taw and not far from the Rock Park. In there , there is an exhibition of Devon Regiment in the 1st World War in the ...  more »
Google
  • Awesome. Shame it isn't three or four tomes the size for more displays. Great facility, great welcome lovely displays. Worth going. We like to revisit with the children as they can get interactive there.
  • This is a very good place to go if you want to know more about the shore birds that live on the river in Barnstaple and Bideford.
  • Shall but still manages to pack in a lot. Great exhibits often with fun activities for kids. Also very helpful tourist centre.
  • Wonderful source of local history, though slightly disappointed at the lack of Shapland history.
  • Small, very interesting museum, good gift shop too! :-)

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59 days in United Kingdom BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, hidden gems PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 8 days in Devon BY A USER FROM MALAYSIA February, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: February, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 1 day in Bideford BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM January, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: January, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 29 days in Devon & Lyme Regis BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, culture, relaxing, historic sites, museums, slow & easy, hidden gems PREFERENCES: April, culture, relaxing, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 5 days in Barnstaple BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, culture, relaxing, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, culture, relaxing, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 29 days in United Kingdom BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA March, culture, romantic, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: March, culture, romantic, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 12 days in United Kingdom BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, culture, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, culture, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 22 days in United Kingdom BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA September, culture, relaxing, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: September, culture, relaxing, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 50 days in England BY A USER FROM BRAZIL December, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: December, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 34 days in United Kingdom & Paris BY A USER FROM NEW ZEALAND December, culture, relaxing, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: December, culture, relaxing, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 34 days in United Kingdom BY A USER FROM NEW ZEALAND December, culture, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: December, culture, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium
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