Buxton Museum & Art Gallery, project space

Anybody remember the Buxton Micrarium?

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Buxton Museum and Art Gallery has kindly shared this postcard from their collection today. It shows an image from one of the 44 microscopes that were once housed in the Pump Room, over the road from The Crescent at Buxton Micrarium. This unique visitor attraction opened in 1981 and ran for fourteen years, winning museum of the Year in 1985.

Buxton Micrarium

Photo credit: Buxton Museum & Art Gallery

As the world’s first Micrarium – its exhibition display was devoted entirely to the natural world under the microscope. The Buxton Micrarium immediately obtained an enthusiastic following. The Micrarium which means a ‘place for small things’ was the dream of the late Dr Stephen Carter who, prior to taking early retirement, was a senior research scientist with ICI Pharmaceuticals.  It became a regular attraction for school parties, was featured on television several times and in 1985 was judged Museum of the Year. Sadly, Dr Carter died suddenly in 1987 and whilst part of his family carried on running the exhibition, in 1995 closure became inevitable when the lease on the premises expired and no suitable home could be found. In the 14 years it was open in excess of 250,000 people visited.

For anyone who remembers its dim interior and fascinating windows into a microscopic world, this image will be a welcome reminder of a time when Buxton had a tourist attraction that was truly remarkable. Ben at Buxton Museum says he often gets visitors to the museum enquiring about its whereabouts, even though it closed over twenty years ago!

Pump Room, Buxton

The Pump Room in the Crescent today – currently being developed as part Buxton Crescent & Thermal Spa.

If anyone recalls visiting The Micrarium or any other happy memories of exploring Buxton, we’d love to hear from you – either drop us an email or say hello to us on our Facebook page 🙂