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Project information

Museum of Iron,how Coalbrookdale Changed the World

The redeveloped Museum of Iron will be the catalyst for the reinterpretation of the iconic industrial landscape that exists at Coalbrookdale and through this project we will seek to explain the global significance of the World Heritage Site from its origins to the present day and beyond

January 2012 - December 2013

Charity information: The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust

The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust logo
  • Need


    In 1709, Coalbrookdale was the place where Abraham Darby first began smelting iron using coke as a fuel instead of charcoal. The innovations & cycles of industrial development that radiated out from this event have changed every aspect of how people live, work & communicate across the globe. Our overall aim is to significantly improve our education facilities for schools & groups & to help visitors of all ages better understand the world-changing importance of Coalbrookdale & the story of iron.


    The project will make a number of significant improvements to the spaces within the Museum & improve access to the Trust’s Designated Collections. The Great Warehouse that houses the Museum is a very beautiful building & through the project we will make the building a more integral part of the overall visitor experience. We will also create for the first time a dedicated education/learning space within the Museum.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Explain significance & context of Coalbrookdale & place it at the heart of the World Heritage Site.


    » Create improved interpretation relating to the role of Coalbrookdale in the Industrial Revolution.

    What success will look like

    Success will be demonstrated through positive feedback from visitors.

    Aim 2

    Explain the history & process of iron-making from pre-history to the modern steel industry.


    » Create new & interactive displays & multi layered interpretation about the evolution of iron-making.

    What success will look like

    Success will be shown through positive feedback from a variety of sources including schools.

    Aim 3

    Refurbish exhibitions across the three floors & create a new education/learning space.


    » Involving local schools & experts we can maximise the use of the educational space & new exhibits.

    What success will look like

    Through feedback & increased booking to use the educational space.

    Aim 4

    Attract more visitors & increase access to the Museum's Nationally Designated Collections.


    » Through lively & interactive displays and marketing.

    What success will look like

    Success will be shown by increased visitor numbers.

  • Impact


    This project will place the Museum of Iron amongst the World’s leading museums in terms of both curatorial excellence and educational facilities, as well as increasing our visitor numbers by 20%. We operate a system of continuous evaluation to determine success including visitor comment cards, mystery shopper reports, Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme (VAQAS) and schools’ evaluation forms as well as entering for award schemes.


    The main risk is insufficient funds to allow us to complete the full extent of the project. We have some funding already in place and an active campaign to raise the remainder that is necessary.


    All donors to this project will receive regular project updates via letter and email and a personal thank you letter for their contribution. Amounts over £500 are recognised in our Annual Review and our annual statutory accounts.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £5,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £5,000 Interactive Exhibits Interactive exhibits featuring our Nationally Designated Collections telling the story of iron.
  • Background


    The Museum of Iron is located at Coalbrookdale in the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage site, one of the first in the UK designated in 1986. The Museum is housed in the Grade II listed Great Warehouse built in 1838, the Museum of Iron was originally used by the Coalbrookdale Company to assemble cast iron products, remaining in use until the 1970s. The iconic cast-iron clock tower was added in 1843 and provides a striking landmark to the beautiful steep sided valley.


    All visitors to the Museum of Iron will benefit from this project and the project will create for the first time a dedicated education/learning space within the Museum. This area will be used primarily by schoolchildren for the purposes of plenary sessions following their visit to the galleries and for bespoke sessions involving handling objects, etc. The space will also be available for adult groups visiting the Museum, led by a volunteer guide or member of the Museum’s staff.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Museum of Iron is one of the 10 museums managed by the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. Established more than 40 years ago the Trust has twin charitable aims of education and heritage conservation. The Museum of Iron is located at Coalbrookdale, in Telford and is the birthplace of Industrial Revolution, which we believe creates the perfect location to help visitors of all ages to better understand the world-changing importance of Coalbrookdale & the story of iron.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Museum Staff, Trustees, Volunteers, School Groups & Partners

    Museum staff, Trustees, volunteers, school groups & partners as well as our donors will work together to make sure that this project is a success