Northampton Museum & Art Gallery, Northampton

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#2 of 8 in Museums in Northamptonshire
Northampton Museum and Art Gallery is a public museum in the Cultural Quarter of Northampton, England. The museum is owned and run by Northampton Borough Council and claims to house the largest collection of shoes in the world, with over 12,000 pairs.The town's museum was established in 1865, but moved to the current site in 1884, where it shared its space with the town's library. After the library moved in 1910, the museum took over the whole building. In 2012, the museum was refurbished for better access. The museum closed in February 2017 to allow work to start on a major expansion project; the new museum is expected to re-open in late 2018.ExhibitsThe museum has been collecting footwear since the 1870s and now boasts the largest collection of shoes in the world, which was designated as being of international importance by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council in 1997. The ground floor is given over to the display of some of the museum's 12,000 pairs of shoes, spanning the period from the Ancient Egyptians to the present day. There are also two galleries dedicated to footwear: Life & Sole focuses on the history of shoemaking and contains a re-creation of an old shoe factory; Followers of Fashion concentrates on the history of fashions in footwear throughout the centuries. Some of the paintings on display reflect the museum's focus on footwear, such as the 17th-19th century Dutch and Flemish works by Jan Miel and Hendrik van Oort featuring cobblers, shoemakers and shoeshiners. As long-time Keeper of the Boot and Shoe Collection, curator June Swann played a significant role in its development. She began in 1950, and worked there for 38 years.
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Northampton Museum & Art Gallery Reviews
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  • June 8, 2017
    This museum is great, it is a real hidden gem of Northampton. The holiday workshops are great and the children love them. It's a shame they are held in the basement with no lighting. I can't wait for ...  more »
  • March 19, 2017
    Have been to this fantastic shoe collection many times, but yesterday I dropped by only to find that it is closed until 2018 for adding on a building extension. Hopefully they will keep their website ...  more »
  • March 19, 2017
    I have been here quite a few times and whenever I visit Northampton I pop in. Not really an art gallery, more a museum of shoes and the history of shoe making and all the more interesting for that. Ye...  more »

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