Museum of Lakeland Life Collections & Exhibitions

Based in Kendal, close to the Abbot Hall Gallery, the Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry allows you to discover how people have lived in the Lake District and how the unique landscape has shaped their lives. It also offers exhibits on Arthur Ransome, one of the Lake District’s most famous authors, and colourful characters.



Folk Art: Why We Make Things Beautiful, 11 November 2017 – 14 April 2018

The Lake District has a long history of communities making art, creating beautiful items, and learning new skills. This latest exhibition explores why people devote time and effort to making beautiful objects, and the unique and fascinating stories of their lives.

On display from the museum’s collection of over 40,000 items are objects made by miners, prisoners of war, and dozens of other anonymous people. Discover the reasons that people are drawn to craft, and see objects rarely displayed before. The exhibition also celebrates the sports, talents and achievements that the people of Cumbria have devoted themselves to.


Hardman Collection

The Museum was given nearly 5000 glass plate negatives by Joseph Hardman’s widow following his death in 1972. Taken between the 1930s and 1960s, the photographs record the traditions of Lakeland life, many of which rapidly changed or disappeared during the second half of the twentieth century.

As well as providing access to this fascinating archive the museum hopes that putting the photographs within the public domain will allow us to build information about the people and places pictured.

If you have any information for inclusion in the photograph library, contact, please also include the image reference number(s) in any emails.

More information about Joseph Hardman


Tractor ploughing in Ennerdale, with dogs. Joseph Hardman. Image Ref: 2002.7.015

Further information:
  • Opening times: Monday – Saturday; Opening Times from 1 November 2017 to 1 March 2018 10.30am – 4.00pm; The Museum is closed to visitors from 23 December 2017 – 11 January 2018. Opening Times from 2 March to 31 October 2018 10.30am – 5.00pm
  • Admission: Adult £5.50 (without donation £5); Joint Gallery & Museum £9.90 (without donation £9). Includes access to Abbot Hall permanent galleries until and including Thursday 6 April; Friends, Patrons & Benefactors – free; Children and full-time students – free; National Art Pass 50% Discount
  • Location: Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry, Abbot Hall, Kendal, Cumbria LA9 5AL. Tel: 01539 722464 Email