The Ruskin Museum

Due to the coronavirus, museums and galleries across the country may be closed or you may have to book a timed ticket in order to visit. Please check their websites and social media channels for up to date information.

Ruskin gave a collection of minerals/crystals to Coniston Mechanics'Institute in 1884. Local objects were added. After Ruskin's death in 1900, his aide-de-campe, W.G. Collingwood organised a major memorial exhibition in the Institute. This raised the funds to build The Ruskin Museum, which was opened, as Coniston's permanent memorial to its most famous resident, by Canon H.D.Rawnsley in 1901. W.G. Collingwood, a local artist and antiquarian who was Ruskin's first biographer, wanted to show how Ruskin, the great Victorian pundit on aesthetics and ethics, had developed his ideas through drawing, so the museum houses a comprehensive collection of his art. Collingwood also determined to celebrate the area's heritage. Coniston is a prime example of a place where nature and history, environment and man, meet in a topographical dimension, and together generate culture. So, The Ruskin Museum, quintupled in size in 1997/98, and further extended in 2008/09,now houses and interprets the text-book local geology and associated copper-mines and slate quarries; the Neolithic, Bronze Age and monastic industrial revolutions; Herdwick sheep husbandry; The Ruskin-inspired Arts & Crafts Langdale Linen & Ruskin Lace Industry; Coniston Water as monastic fishery, adventure playground for Arthur Ransom's 'Swallows and Amazons', and, since 1939, race-track of the Speed Aces Sir Malcolm Campbell and his son, Donald Campbell, in their Bluebird hydroplanes.Donald Campbell's Bluebird K7 is currently undergoing a conservation rebuild to full operational order, prior to low-speed engineering proving trials and installation in The Bluebird Wing at The Ruskin Museum. The Rough Guide to The Lake District, all editions, nominates The Ruskin Museum as 'the most thought-provoking in the Lakes' for its authorative introduction to The Story of Coniston, which deploys a rich array of objects, and employs film and IT as well as detailed information folders.

Further information

Opening Hours:

From Wednesday 12th November 2014 until Friday 6th March 2015 Wednesday to Sunday inclusive: 10.30am until 3.30pm [last admissions 45 minutes before closing]


Admission Charges Adult: £6.00 - Child: £3.00 - Family: £16.00 School Pupils: £2.00 - Students with NUS Card: £5.00 Group Rates Available


  • Museums Association
  • International Council of Museums

Travel directions:

By Road: From M6 J36, follow A590 and A591.From A591 at Ambleside, follow A593 via Skelwith Bridge to Coniston; park on main car park in centre of village, or turn right between Coniston Co-Op and the Black Bull and park on left of Mines Road, just past museum. There are two spaces for disabled drivers/passengers on site. From A590 at Greenodd, follow A592 towards Lowick. then right on to A5084 to Torver, then right on to A593 to Coniston. After petrol station on left, cross bridge and turn left between Black Bull and Co-Op on to Mines Road; or, from bridge, take road between Church and Yewdale Hotel to main car park. From Hawkshead, take B5285 over Hawkshead Hill, [possibly taking scenic detour to Tarn Hows], to Coniston, finding main car park on left opposite The Crown. By Bus: The X12 bus service runs hourly from Ulverston Station; Stagecoach runs a regular service from Bowness/Windermere, via Ambleside and Hawkshead. By Foot: For walkers, Coniston is on The Cumbria Way. There are footpath routes from Hawkshead, via Tarn Hows. By Cycle : For Cyclists, Coniston is on a designated Cycle Way, in part off-road.

Upcoming events:

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.

Facilities and services


  • Education facilities available
  • Facilities for private functions and events
  • Meeting room available
  • Object study facilities available (enquire in advance)
  • Parking for disabled available
  • Reception and lunch facilities for educational groups
  • Research facilities for academics
  • Shop
  • Study facilities
  • Toilets for disabled
  • Wheelchair access to all public areas

Facilities information:

The Ruskin Museum has level access, and the main displays are on the ground floor; a lift provides first floor access for those requiring it. There is a disabled toilet facility. The Ruskin Museum's developments in 1997/98 and 2008/09 were specifically designed on Ruskinian principles of truth to local materials [recycled second-hand local Coniston stone, slate and copper] and traditional vernacular building styles, to create a building that works in a low-carbon foot-print manner, thanks to heavy insulation and shutters, and the use of borrowed light. Ruskin was one of the first to notice, and to crusade against, the pollutant effects of industrialisation. The Ruskin Museum is owned and managed by the people of Coniston, a small and relatively isolated Lakeland community becoming increasingly dependent on tourism for the viability of its small marginal businesses. The museum extends dwell-time in the community, and thus discretionary spend: recent research by AIM puts an added value to the local economy of between £30,000 and £50,000 per 1,000 museum visitors.


  • Academic publications and resources available
  • Adult lectures and courses held
  • Brochure or leaflet available with directions to museum
  • Direct teaching services for schools
  • Events and resources for children and families
  • Events/teaching/resources for people with disabilities
  • Foreign language leaflet or brochure available
  • General guide to collections available
  • Member of staff available with responsibility for education
  • Object identification and/or written enquiry service
  • Pre-booking service for groups
  • Primary school education service available
  • Printed/audio-visual information available for schools
  • Public access available to collections information
  • Secondary school education service available
  • Specialist publications on collections available
  • Teaching/resources available for HE/FE students
  • Touch exhibits

Is this your Venue? log in to update any incorrect or missing information.