Step back in time and discover over 300 years of Nottingham's history...
Witness for yourself what houses and shops would have looked like in the early 1900s and learn about the people of Nottingham through the objects they made, used or owned and the stories they tell us.
This delightful museum is sited in Brewhouse Yard at the base of Castle Rock, a location that itself reveals much about Nottingham's social history. The museum depicts the social history of Nottingham over the last 300 years and is housed in five 17th century cottages adjacent to the famous 'Trip to Jerusalem' public house and is staffed mainly by our volunteers.
Brewhouse Yard once contained a thriving community of 20 houses, with a population of 127 people at its peak. The surviving buildings house the museum and contain a mixture of reconstructed room and shop settings, and gallery displays including 'Toys' and 'Community Showcase' which highlights work by local groups or individuals.
Reconstructed room settings
The Museum of Nottingham Life gives you the opportunity to step back in time. Enter and experience being in a Victorian home and take a realistic glimpse of what everyday domestic life would have been like. Root through the cupboards in the kitchen, imagine the Dining Room set for dinner or consider being one of the five children who had to sleep in a single bedroom!
Replica shops that were once based in Nottingham can be found in the museum. Visit the Grocer's and imagine how different your food shopping experience would have been! See the large variety of bottles on display at the Pharmacy or travel back in time to a busy shopping day in the 1920s, with a row of different shops. Peer through the windows of the shopping street and listen to the hustle and bustle of the era, imagining how the city once was.
Whilst on site visit the the vibrant, Discovering Toys Gallery and also the latest gallery to open, the Growing up in Nottingham. Both examine what it was like as a child growing up in Nottingham through the ages..
This vibrant gallery explores the wonder of toys! See examples from throughout the years - remember playing with them or describe your experience of them to younger visitors. One star exhibit is a fabulous Dolls House. donated to the museum in 2003 by local lady Elizabeth Farr, this huge house was originally a gift to Elizabeth from her godmother, and contains dolls that represent members of her family! Find out more by watching a video that shows Elizabeth setting up the house as she originally had it and talking about her childhood.
Growing Up in Nottingham
Rock Cottage also house's the newest gallery to open at The Museum of Nottingham Life. Growing Up in Nottingham takes visitors through four different periods, providing the opportunity to compare children's experiences of school, home, work and leisure through time. Focusing on the Victorian era, Between the Wars 1918 to 1939, Post War (50s, 60s, 70s) and 2008, the gallery has been designed to give the impression that it has been created by children. It features many Nottingham objects which have associated social history stories and costume displays from the Nottingham City Museums costume and textile collection.
Situated high on Castle Rock within the sites grounds, visitors will find Rock Cottage. Inside Rock Cottage visitors will be able to experience being in a Victorian school.
Surrounded by lawns and flower beds, The Museum of Nottingham Life provide the ideal place to sit and relax. With it's stunning 17th century backdrop the site is a mini oasis in the city centre to enjoy a lunchtime, take a break from the hustle and bustle of shopping or simply enjoy a picnic.
Inside Rock Cottage visitors will be able to experience being in a Victorian school. A favourite with adults and children alike, visitors can sit at a desk and imagine being a school pupil listening to the Master teach! There is even the chance to write on an old fashioned slate with chalk!
Caves at the museum
The Museum of Nottingham Life provides a unique visitor experience. In addition to the wonderful reconstructed room settings, shop displays and vibrant galleries, this delightful historic site also enables visitors to discover a system of man-made caves.
Built behind the museum, into the base of Castle Rock, the caves provide much insight into the history of the site itself. Visitors are able to wander through the system that were once used for storage by the inhabitants of the cottages. They've also been used as a place for trade, as air raid shelters and even for cooking!
As the only cave system in Nottingham with wheelchair access, the caves at The Museum of Nottingham Life are a fantastic, accessible, piece of the city's history.
Don't miss our regularly changing programme of exhibitions put together by groups or individuals from the local community.
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