The Steamboat Association
of Great Britain

to foster and encourage steam boating and the building, development, preservation and restoration of steam boats and steam machinery

to stimulate public interest
in steam boats
and steam boating

to promote high standards
of workmanship,
safety and seamanship


Windermere Steamboat Museum is soon to be reborn!

30 May 2013 19:34 | Deleted user

The Windermere Steamboat Museum is regarded by steamboaters not just in England but the world over as something of a spiritual home! George Pattinson’s legacy has been for many years a centre for rallies, steamboating activity and inspiring people to join the SBA.
Since being taken over by the Lakeland Arts Trust, a great deal of work has gone into planning and conservation of the resources at the Bowness-on-Windermere site which could reopen in 2015.
The last 18 months has seen development of extensive plans for the new museum including a 10 year conservation programme. Planning has included activities to be offered and the development of the stories to be told in the exhibition spaces.
The ‘visitor experience’ is at the heart of the project, which means there must be easy access for everybody to the whole collection and the various connected storylines presented by the exhibits. The challenge is to provide interpretations of exhibits layered for visitors of different ages and learning abilities while still retaining the fascination for those with a specialist interest.
Displays will explore themes touching, for example, on early tourism and the appeal of Windermere and how the lake was a source of income for those who fished or built boats. There will be a section called ‘Life at Speed’ charting racing on the lake from 19th century through to the 1980s.
A great deal of work has gone into finding means of helping visitors engage with the historic boats, connecting human stories to the heritage. Envisaged are workshops for schools, interpreters to bring boating characters alive, regular clubs for younger people – for example ‘Water Babies’ and ‘Young Otters’ clubs. For older people there will be programmes of talks, lectures and performances as well as community engagement projects focused on a particular boats or story. The possibilities are endless and Charlotte Upton of the Lakeland Arts Trust sounds excited as she describes it all!
The conservation management plan is highly significant given the centrality of the Windermere boat collection to all that the SBA holds most dear. Prepared in great detail for the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) it reaches forward to 2024, ensuring that each boat has been assessed on criteria including originality, condition and its place in history. Boats have been categorised against one of six conservation methodologies developed from a comprehensive study of current best practice. The conservation team has made a great deal of progress and indeed SL ‘Osprey’ is already restored for operational use.
The planning application for the new museum buildings has been submitted and a decision is expected soon while a second application to the HLF was submitted in March this year for a confirmed award of £9m. The project is marching on...

…but funding has to be secured to make it all happen!

The campaign to raise match funding to support the HLF grant has been incredibly successful and the Lakeland Arts Trust has raised £2.9m to date. A further £500,000 is needed to reach the target and so all donations are welcome to support this important project.

Donations are very warmly welcomed and should be sent marked clearly for the Steamboat Museum Project c/o Charlotte Upton, Blackwell, the Arts & Crafts House, Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria LA23 3JT

For more information visit the museum's website.

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