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Sunday, 6 July 2014

My Tyneside @ The Discovery Museum


My favourite museum that we visited on this trip to the North East was the Discovery Museum in Newcastle.

A large, free entrance museum in the city centre, the museum celebrates its 80th birthday this year but the exhibitions and displays are very, very modern - lots of interactive displays and things to engage people of all ages in the history of the North East.

On a family history note, there are two notable exhibitions - The Newcastle Story and Destination Tyneside.

In The Newcastle Story, you can talk a walk through the history of Newcastle and the surrounding areas from Roman times to the present day, through reconstructions of the "streets, homes and communities of the past" and as well as local history, there is a lot of general social history too around the 1930s depression, the arrival of the welfare state in post-war Britain and the swinging 60s.





In Destination Tyneside, which celebrates migration to the North East, there is lots to learn about those who have arrived in the North East throughout the decades. From the Scottish migrants of the early 20th century (like my great grandmother's family) to the Eastern Europeans arriving more recently, the arrival of those from abroad is celebrated and presented in a fun way which encourages people to think about "their Tyneside". There are some interactive displays which allow you to trace your surname and see comparison maps showing the geographical spread of your name between 1881 and 1998 which proved very interesting - both me and my husband searched lots of names from our tree (and were surprised by some of the results)!


The best part of Destination Tyneside though, has to be the My Tyneside Wall - a permanent celebration of all those who have arrived in the North East and made it their home. For a donation of £20 you can have your ancestors arrival in Newcastle commemorated, which is not only a nice idea but makes an amazing visual record of migration to the North East over the years. Since returning home I have been on the museum website and added my great-grandmother's details, and I look forward to seeing them on the wall when we return to Newcastle!

My Tyneside Wall (Photo from Discovery Museum website)

Sharing the Discovery Museum building is the Tyne & Wear archives, another treasure trove of North East family history resources - but it was closing time by the time we reached them, as there was so much to see in the museum. So if you're planning to visit both, keep an eye on the time!

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