South Shields Museum & Art Gallery

South Shields Museum & Art Gallery: Hours, Address, South Shields Museum & Art Gallery Reviews: 4/5

South Shields Museum & Art Gallery

South Shields Museum & Art Gallery
4
Art Museums • History Museums
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
11:30 AM - 4:00 PM
About
At the very heart of its community, South Shields Museum celebrates the rich heritage of South Tyneside and the people who shaped it. The building that South Shields Museum currently occupies has had a long and interesting past. It was constructed in 1860 as a home for the South Shields Literary, Mechanical and Scientific Institution. In 1873 the building became the town’s first free Public Library and Reading rooms and it opened as a museum in 1876. The museum is spread over two floors telling the story of the borough's social, industrial and maritime history from 4,000 years ago to the present day through a range of displays, exhibitions and nationally significant works of art. On the ground floor you can get closer to the collection and treasures of South Tyneside. There's also Creature Corner, home to our resident reptiles and insects, the shop and a small cafe, the Victorian Pantry, serving a range of hot and cold refreshments.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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Popular mentions

4.0
221 reviews
Excellent
102
Very good
79
Average
31
Poor
7
Terrible
2

Vivian G
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK20 contributions
Great day out
Sep 2021
Really enjoyed my trip. I had a nice day off and managed to get some time here. Affordable too! After, I went for a nice walk along the beach and got some chips. Really lovely day out and hope to visit again soon.
Written September 16, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

horse_tin
San Antonio, TX92 contributions
Entertained me for a couple of hours
Jul 2021 • Solo
I have to give it five stars because it's a small hidden gem within the economic shipwreck that is South Shields. It was a welcome diversion and I spent a pleasurable two hours examining the various displays. I particularly liked the accolades to the town's Merchant Navy heritage but I couldn't help thinking they were already saying their forlorn goodbyes to the industry despite the town still continuing to host a fully operational Merchant Navy School producing hundreds of cadets per year. I noticed a photo of two merchant navy officers captioned "Two Merchant Navy Officers abord (sic) their ship." Ok, that slipped through the proof reader but it's a great display nonetheless!

I also particularly enjoyed the tearoom which had very nice food and coffee served by friendly waitresses wearing traditional black and white frocks. The home made quiche was amazing and you could tell it was home made. I would go again just for that.

I discovered numerous interesting artifacts on display, some of which, however, were ludicrously incongruous. I wondered at The Tufty Club road safety pin badge shown alongside various war medals, almost suggesting the achievement was on par with Meritorious Service for God and the Empire. I admired with puzzlement Rory: The South Shields Lion. The Lion, that is from/about/relevant to/derived from/born in/otherwise perhaps something to do with.... South Shields. How cool is that? I do like taxidermy anyway.

I spotted the Alcopops and Indian take-away menu preserved for posterity. I think maybe there is a tongue in cheek sort of facetiousness on the part of the museum curator and I did have a bit of a quiet chuckle to myself. I certainly wasn't bored looking at the displays and I did find out a lot of things I didn't previously know. Anyone who experiences boredom from this museum probably isn't a very interesting person anyway.

Jimmy Tracey though! So there is a photograph of the infamous town half-man from 1900 on display. Kudos to the scholar who actually managed to identify him and research the origins of the portrait and it's quite interesting to see his local haunts around the now demolished shanties of the riverside. I can't help thinking, though, surely there have been more notable characters from South Shields than Jimmy Tracey and whether his limited stature should warrant an exhibit 121 years later or whether he would have particularly wanted that. I wonder about lots of claims to fame though, like Dolly Peel and Tommy the Trumpeter, but then again, I could say the same about Kim Kardashian.

I like this museum and it entertained me for a good couple of hours, I learned a few things, I enjoyed looking at the many artifacts on display, especially the model of the Holland America Liner and another ship built on the Tyne and lost off the coast of Portugal. And I saw a tarantula! Best of all, it was free entry!

I bought something on the way out so as to contribute financially. The museum is very underappreciated and well worth a visit.
Written July 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

vivEngland
Preston, UK711 contributions
Interesting to wander round
Jun 2021
We were visiting the area and decided to have a wander round the museum. Fortunately there weren't many people walking around and there is guidance on the floor to keep you going in a certain direction to be able to social distance. There is an art gallery and also details of various people involved in art and a lot of information about the people of South Tyneside, including during the War. The Museum was opened in 1876 and previous to that it has been various things, including the town's first Public Library. The Museum is free with a donation requested.
Written June 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

mariesam2018
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK13 contributions
Victorian pantry
May 2021 • Friends
Hidden gem, if you go to the museum you must visit the cafe attached, the food and cakes are amazing highly recommend
Written May 17, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Geoff N
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK18 contributions
Even teenagers enjoyed it!
Jul 2019
Visited as part of a school activities visit to South Shields. Even a group of 20 kids aged 13-15 came away having enjoyed their experience. Lots of interesting exhibits, well-stocked gift shop and a nice little cafe for the teachers/grown ups...

I enjoyed it so much that I went back with my own daughter the following week!
Written February 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hello Thank you taking the time to leave a review. What a great endorsement! Keep your eyes peeled - or sign up to our e-mailing list - for our summer programme we will have lots of free family activities on this summer that your daughter may enjoy. Geoff Woodward Museum Manager
Written March 2, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jim H
Amble, UK89 contributions
Midweek visit
Jan 2020
My wife and I visited here recently. We had always wanted to visit this museum but never got round to it til now. We were pleasantly surprised at the varied exhibits and displays and also the art gallery. Lots of local history and information. A cafe is located in the museum but it had closed for the day when we visited in late afternoon. We were surprised that entry was free (voluntary donations are appreciated) considering what was on offer. We will visit again.
Written February 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hello Thank you for taking the time to leave a review and thank you for your positive comments, I do hope you will get a chance to visit us again! We have a changing exhibition programme, so in May the programme changes and we'll have new displays. And I recommend the home baking in The Victorian Pantry - although my waistline does not! Geoff Woodward Museum Manager
Written March 2, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

w9mee
South Shields, UK48 contributions
Snakes and spiders
Sep 2019 • Family
I spend at least 1 afternoon in here ever week my grandaughter loves the place she loves to visit the snakes and spiders. Only thing wish there was more than one toilet downstairs no good if that one is busy to have to go upstairs to top floor with a small child
Written October 9, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hello Thank you for taking the time to leave a review- great to hear that your granddaughter enjoys herself. Thanks for the feedback regarding the toilets too. Geoff Woodward Museum Manager
Written November 26, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

ALAN H
County Durham, UK32 contributions
Museum for short visit
Sep 2019
Nice little museum for a short visit. Also has art gallery and meeting rooms upstairs. Main attraction for me is the lovely little Victorian team rooms with homemade cakes and scones, etc. Not a lot of tables but nice cafe and friendly staff
Written September 30, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hello Thank you for taking the time to leave a review of your visit. I'll pass on your kind comments to our cafe staff too. Geoff Woodward Museum Manager
Written October 1, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Heather H
16 contributions
Return to my home town
Jul 2019
The museum has changed , encompassing the new technology, but still keeping its authenticity with exhibits from the past
Written September 11, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hello Heather Thank you for taking the time to leave a review of your visit to South Shields Museum & Art Gallery. This is lovely feedback, I hope you enjoyed your trip down memory lane. Geoff Woodward Museum Manager
Written September 12, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

GuinnessGirl73
Nashport, OH329 contributions
Catherine Cookson section
Jun 2019 • Couples
Okay so this was a short visit...let me explain. My mother has been reading (and rereading) Catherine Cookson books for decades. She wrote her a letter in the 1980s and even got a reply back (which she has framed on her wall). She absolutely loves Catherine's books so on my way from London to Edinburgh, I made sure I stopped in South Shields to send her some pictures or any memorabilia I could find. The tourism board in the area was very helpful and they directed me to this museum. They have a small exhibit on Catherine and some photos of her on display. I called my mom from the beach and we cried together on the phone when I told her where I was. I went to the museum gift shop to look for ANYTHING with Catherine Cookson and they literally had NOTHING. I was so disappointed. I ended up getting mom a reusable shopping bag and a couple pictures of paintings. I asked the clerk and he said they had cut back on her stuff. (sad face) Anyway, it was a short visit to make mom happy and I was sad they had zero Catherine Cookson souvenirs to buy.
Written July 23, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hello Thank you very much for taking the time to leave a review, and it is fantastic to hear that you have travelled so far to visit us. I do hope that you had a wonderful holiday. I am very sorry that you're disappointed with the shop offer. I hope your mum enjoyed the gifts that you purchased. Geoff Woodward Museum Manager
Written August 13, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about South Shields Museum & Art Gallery

South Shields Museum & Art Gallery is open:
  • Mon - Fri 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Sat - Sat 11:30 AM - 4:00 PM


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