The new permanent exhibition dedicated to Beatrix Potter has boosted visitor numbers at Ambleside’s Armitt Museum.
Figures to the end of May show a 55% increase in visitors compared with the same period last year. The new show – Beatrix Potter: Image and Reality – was opened officially at the Armitt last September and reveals the character of one of the most iconic and influential figures of the Lake District.
The exhibition features scientific paintings and drawings from the Museum’s collection, along with significant new displays. These include images from collections held by the National Trust and her publisher, Frederick Warne, along with Beatrix’s own personal first editions of the “little” books, including The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
Beatrix Potter’s Lake District in the early 20th century are at the heart of the show, featuring the people who were important in her life, and her remarkable series of careers as a scientist, illustrator, artist, writer, sheep farmer and conservationist.
The permanent collection completes a circle of Beatrix Potter attractions in the Lake District, from the World of Peter Rabbit at Bowness to her former home at Hill Top, along with Wray Castle where her family spent holidays.
Museum trustee Graham Kilner said: “Beatrix Potter is known for so many different reasons and because of her many different talents. It’s fascinating to see how she reinvented herself over her lifetime.”
Last month the Armitt was able to promote another new attraction, the acquisition of the mountaineering library collection of the Fell and Rock Climbing Club, England’s first and foremost mountaineering society.
This is one of the world’s most renowned collections of historic books on climbing and mountaineering, and been given a permanent new home at the Armitt.
The Fell and Rock Climbing Club’s library of 2,000 books was received by the museum at a reception at which Alan Hinkes, the only Briton to have climbed all 14 of the world’s highest summits, was guest of honour.
Armitt museum curator Deborah Walsh also discovered a series of glass lantern slides taken during the 1921 Everest Reconnaissance Expedition to Everest. The expedition included George Mallory and records the first use of oxygen in climbing. These were projected onto the walls of the museum when the collection officially opened.
Walsh said: “It is of great satisfaction to the FRCC and the Armitt Museum and Library that the most significant collection of mountaineering books in the country has come together in the heart of the Lakes and is now accessible to all. I’m still finding out how rare some of the items are.”
She added that the FRCC books overlapped and complemented the Armitt’s own unique collection of early guide books, making it one of the best resources of its kind anywhere.
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