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Five years of North Herts Museum – 50 exhibitions from Diane Arbus and Rembrandt to Paddington and Peter Rabbit

North Herts museum

With 50 exhibitions and nearly 125,000 visitors, North Herts Museum in Hitchin is celebrating its 5th anniversary this month.

Officially turning five on 6 July, the museum, owned and managed by North Herts Council, will be celebrating all month. Looking back on our five years, there’s a large display panel in the museum café showing all the posters of our 50 exhibitions since we opened on 6 July 2019.

Exhibitions have ranged from prestigious and valuable loan exhibitions such as Rembrandt in Print in 2020, to popular children’s exhibitions such as Paddington, Peter Rabbit, The BFG and The Tiger who Came to Tea. Other exhibitions include those put together by our curators from the museum’s own collections, as well as those from the local community, including My Covid Portraits, From Windrush to North Herts and Home is Where the Hert is. 

Our most popular exhibitions have been Paddingtonand The BFG, both with over 9,000 visitors. But had it not been for Covid which meant we had to close the museum, Rembrandt in Print would have been our most popular exhibition.

Cllr Tamsin Thomas, Executive Member for Enterprise & Arts, said: “We have had a great first five years, despite Covid, with 50 amazing exhibitions, honouring the legacy of our founding collections from the former Letchworth and Hitchin museums. North Herts Museum and its curatorial team are a fabulous resource for our communities and visitors to the area. We have such a rich and diverse history, it’s important to preserve and showcase it for generations to come. We love being able to showcase external collections as well, providing our residents the chance to see touring exhibitions on their doorstep. And it is fantastic that our in-house team provide a rich programme of talks and events.

“We have welcomed nearly 125,000 people to the museum, including thousands of schoolchildren and many different adult groups – from people with dementia to those taking part in our art workshops like lino printing and collage. I am particularly proud of the work that the museum team has done to take our extensive collection out across the district through our schools’ programme and other outreach programmes – to care homes and through various groups and societies. Our collection is so much more than what you see in the galleries and its fantastic our curators are able to make it accessible for the entire community.”

A little girl smiling at the entrance to the Paddington exhibition
A young visitor at the Paddington exhibition in 2022

Recent visitor comments include: 

“Probably the finest museum we have been to. As well as very interesting exhibitions, the small cafeteria was very enjoyable. I have to tell you, that this is the first time I have ever written to a museum after years of visiting them!”

Re: Camden Town to Garden City: Gilman, Gore & Ratcliffe

  • ‘Worthy of a London exhibition. Well done!’
  • ‘Fantastic collection of all 3 artists – brilliantly curated – thank you’
  • ‘What a show, spectacular!’

Re: ARTIST ROOMS: Diane Arbus

  • ‘Wow! Just wow! Would have been thrilled to see it in London, but on our doorstep!’
  • ‘Amazing to see such a high calibre artist in Hitchin, thanks’ 

Re: Richard ’Dick’ Walker, Hitchin’s Angling Legend 

  • ‘A wonderful exhibition about a wonderful man. Very informative and a celebration of a local figure of national repute’

The latest exhibition is Hitchin’s Toy Story about toys designed locally but enjoyed worldwide from 13 July to 22 September.

Find out more and what’s on at North Herts Museum:

  • Visit the museum on Brand Street, Hitchin, open Tue-Sat 10.30am-4.30pm and Sun 11am-3pm – admission to the museum and exhibitions is free
  • Follow the museum on social media – @northhertsmuseum on Facebook and Instagram
  • Visit the website North Herts Museum or call 01462 474554
  • Subscribe to their (and the council's) regular newsletters – Email updates and text alerts

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