The area around the time of Killingworth is seeped in industrial and agricultural history but it is also rich in the county’s heritage which can be traced back to medieval times. From castles to collieries, farming to fishing you will find a museum in the area to cover every subject synonymous with this region where you will find interesting displays and artefacts of interest that will give you a better understanding of the land and its people through the centuries.
The county of Northumberland has always been rich in farmlands so there are several museums in the area that follow an agricultural theme including the Armstrong’s Household and Farming Museum which is located a short distance from the town of Killingworth in north Charlton. Here you will find exhibitions relating to antique household and farming items that include a restored 19th century nursery with toys, traditional milking parlour and washing room, plus agricultural tools, local needlework samples and memorabilia from the Second World War. The Bellingham Heritage Centre also follows similar themes with the focus on railways, mining and farming with displays that include many old photographs giving an insight into rural life in the area during days gone by and a recreated smithy, the colloquial term used for a local blacksmith. The Bailiffgate Museum in Alnick is another establishment that pays homage to local history with displays dedicated to culture, fishing, agriculture, railways and mining but it also has an extensive collection of art too. For those who have an interest in the arts, then the Berwick Museum and Art Gallery will also appeal with its extensive collection of fine art that includes Asian porcelain and historic glass, however it also offers detailed exhibits about medieval Berwick and its adjacent castle as well as documentation and artefacts relating to trade and social history, mining and fishing, which are located in Berwick Barracks. The Wylam Railway Museum offers exhibits and displays dedicated to the history of f railway development and its local pioneers while Wallington Hall, which is operated by the national trust, is a prime example of a Palladian house fully restored with a fine furnished interior and an exclusive collection of dollhouses.
Those with an interest in how the mining industry shaped the local economy and its people, will find a visit to the Woodhorn – Northumberland Museum, Archives and Country Park fascinating as this is a former working colliery complete with original equipment (including a 2 ft narrow gauge railway) and structures combined with exhibits about the mine and its workers which gives an interesting insight into the life of a miner in a bygone era. There are also displays relating to history and science as well as exhibits of art created by local miners. There are also several museums which cover the region’s ancient history that include the Homestead Roman Fort, an archaeological site now run by the English Heritage that was built along Hadrian’s Wall and is now home to a related museum that has is full of original artefacts excavated from the remains of the original structure. A similar heritage site dedicated to the Roman Army during their occupation of the region can be found at Vindolanda toward the southern end of Hadrian’s wall.