Welcome to The Beacon

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Welcome to the new look Beacon Museum. Want to win a free family pass to the Beacon Museum? Complete our survey to enter.

The Beacon at night

The Beacon Museum has reopened its doors with new displays to delight visitors both old and new. The relaunch sees the beginning of a new chapter for the museum after Copeland and Sellafield Ltd reached agreement for it to be jointly run.

Our award-winning museum continues to tell the story of Copeland. Starting with the geology of the area and the early settlers, the interactive museum charts history through to the Lowther family’s development of the town of Whitehaven into one of the UK’s most significant ports and beyond to more modern twentieth century industries. 

Floor 4 – Views, POP and the Weather

Begin at the top of the museum and enjoy the best view in town in our viewing gallery, looking out across the Solway. This floor also features an interactive POP Gallery exploring leisure and culture in 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s.

Floor 3 – Changing Times

Downstairs the story of West Cumbria begins with the hands-on history of the area from Norse Settlers to twentieth century industries. This floor features some new themes including “Time Pieces” and “Matthias Read – The Father of Cumbrian Painting”.

 Floor 2 – Sellafield Story

The new look interactive exhibition, “The Sellafield Story,” telling the story of Copeland’s place at the heart of the world’s nuclear industry, from the early pioneers who built and safely ran the world’s first commercial nuclear power station, to the clean-up work taking place at Sellafield today. The story begins with World War One and Two, telling how West Cumbria supported the war effort and, afterwards, how new technology was pioneered right here to give the UK a nuclear deterrent.

 Floor 1 – Reception and Harbour Gallery

See up to six different and amazing art or history exhibitions each year in the Harbour Gallery. The Harbour Gallery is the Beacon Museum's temporary exhibition space and is located on the main entrance floor. Entry into the Harbour Gallery is FREE for most exhibitions.

The Beacon Museum Gift Shop stocks gifts and quality souvenirs to suit all ages and pockets. From small mementos of your visit, to exclusive paintings and prints. We specialise in gifts of Cumbrian origin.

Floor 0 – Restaurant and Meeting Room

The Wellington Bistro ( at the Beacon Museum enjoys the best harbourside situation in Whitehaven. With an extensive menu, it’s the ideal venue for visitors to relax and re-energise. You can get to the Bistro from both inside the Beacon as well straight in from the harbourside.

Also on the ground floor is the Meeting Room, the venue for our many activities that is available for room hire. The Meeting Room is a great, adaptable space that will suit any kind of user: from toddlers to visiting tycoons.

If you would like to contact The Beacon Museum, please email or telephone 01946 592302.

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Published: 7 August 2013 - 2:13pm