Leeds City Museum

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Leeds, England
0113 224 3732

Leeds City Museum Reviews

sarahelaine sarahela…
651 reviews
Leeds City Museum Mar 23, 2014
Leeds museum is a free museum on Millennium Square, about a half hour’s walk from the railway station in Leeds. It is housed in a former historic Mechanic’s Institute, one of the Victorian Philanthropic endeavours to allow Working Men to Better Themselves and Avoid the Demon Drink; it’s lovely that the building still has an educational us. Architecturally, it’s built around a fascinating, huge central lecture theatre, with museum exhibit rooms surrounding the lecture hall on three sides. Apparently, it was intended to be a miniature Paris Opera House, which I can sort of see.

As a museum, rather than an interesting bit of architecture, it’s quite small. There is a natural history section, with the skeleton of a Giant Irish Elk (these were huge with massive antlers, and although not as good as dinosaurs, are still pretty cool as skeletons go), a section on the history of Leeds, one on the ancient world, and a temporary exhibition room. Unfortunately, as the museum is so cramped for space, it’s hard to visit as an adult. There are lots of nice games for children to play, reasonably well maintained, and interactive doo-dahs. But they are all directly in front of the actual exhibits and make it impossible to look without leaning close over the head of someone else’s child, which presumably makes it harder for them to enjoy making their roman mosaic. I hurried round in a fuzz of slightly embarrassed discomfort to go to see the temporary exhibition, which was pictures with no interaction at all.

If you do have children, it’s great. Giant Irish Elk aside, there is a mummy, lots of games, and the central lecture theatre has activities and running around space. There is also – of course – a gift shop and tea room. Disabled access looks OK – there is an enormous set of clearly recent steps that have ramps built in, and lifts. Entrance is free (donation requested). But as an unaccompanied adult, it isn’t a great museum, and I wouldn’t suggest a detour.
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