Northampton Museum & Art Gallery, Northampton
(4/5 based on 160 reviews on the web)
Northampton Museum and Art Gallery is a public museum owned and run by Northampton Borough Council in the Cultural Quarter of Northampton, England.The museum has the largest collection of historical footwear in the world, designated as being of international importance. The ground floor is given over to the display of some of the museum's 12,000 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.The second and third floors of the museum house displays of Oriental ceramics and Italian art from the 15th to the 18th century.Sekhemka statue controversyThe museum conducted a controversial sale of an Ancient Egyptian statue of Sekhemka in July 2014, with questions relating to the ownership and the ethics of selling the statue being raised by various organizations. The statue was sold to an unknown buyer for £15.76m, which broke the existing world record for Ancient Egyptian artwork at auction. On 1 August 2014, Northampton Museums had its accreditation removed by the Arts Council England, which ruled that the sale broke the required standards for how museums manage their collections; loss of accreditation includes ineligibility for a range of arts grants and funding, and is in effect until at the earliest, August 2019.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • We visited with our 18 year old granddaughter, into shoes, and her boyfriend. We only looked at the shoe museum. They were both disappointed with the quality of the displays. In particular most of the...  more »
  • If you have a shoe fetish your in luck. Comprehensive foot-ware collection and interesting machinery from the now non existent shoe making industry. Good try. 
  • with an hour or so spare I took my 5yr old to the Museum before the Theatre (opposite). much improved layout since my last visit a couple of years ago. Interesting and informative displays for all age...  more »
Google
  • Went specifically to see the show exhibition and loved it! Very informative and loads of shoes on display. Examples from across the world, from 18th century China to the Spice Girls, via an elephant boot from Hannibal's crossing of the Alps - something for everyone!
  • Very interesting and good collection of locally found artifacts. Free entry and helpful knowledgeable staff.
  • Please be advised that the Museum is open from 12pm on Sundays not 2pm. We have notified Google of this, but are hoping it will be changed as soon as possible. Many Thanks
  • An excellent view of society using the unique medium of shoes! A great way to connect with the the trends & moods of past generations, they are a such a personal item that become a part of their owners self expression, depicting class, gender and style. We had a great time as a family as the children could lead us around! It was the highlight of our visit to Northampton.
  • Amazing every time! Shoes were once the 'Life and Sole' of Northampton and this gallery hosts the largest collection of shoes in Europe, possibly the world. From shoes for bound feet, to the Pinball Wizard 'Tommy' Boots this museum has every style of footwear ever conceived. Its mandatory to walk round it at least once if you're visiting the town centre, and its free!