John Ruskin Museum

The Ruskin Museum, Coniston, LA21 8DU
John Ruskin Museum

John Ruskin Museum (Paul Hermans /

Opened in 1901 as a memorial to writer, artist, and critic John Ruskin who died in 1900, the John Ruskin Museum in the small town of Coniston celebrates the landscapes of the Lake District and the history of its people.

A walk through the museum will inform you about the geological factors that gave rise to the lakes and mountains visible today, the history of farming and industry in the area, and the triumphs of local writers and engineers.

There is a wealth of resources at the museum that will inspire and inform, providing a great way to spend an afternoon.

Planning Your Visit

Contact Details:
01539 441 164 / Website
Please see official website
Seasonal Opening:
Closed During the Christmas Period


John Ruskin was one of Victorian England’s great thinkers. He was highly influential during his time on a number of areas including arts, crafts, conservationism, and philanthropy. Many of his thoughts and ideas have influenced modern society, inspiring the creation of the National Trust and modern environmentalism. He lived close to Coniston at Brantwood, and today his former home is open to the public.

John Ruskin died in 1900 and in 1901 his friend and secretary W. G. Collingwood organised an exhibition in Ruskin’s honour. Attracting thousands of visitors, the exhibition raised enough funds to open a permanent museum with artworks, writings, and items such as crystals and minerals that Ruskin found interesting. The museum was re-built in the 1990s thanks to a National Lottery funded grant using traditional building methods and materials.

Things To See

Whether your interests lie in art or geology, history or engineering, you will no doubt find something of interest within the walls of the John Ruskin museum. There are exhibitions on the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, the geology of the location area, the history of Coniston and its mines, and the influence of farming on the area.

The efforts of Donald Campbell and his quest to beat the world’s land and water speed records are detailed in full alongside pieces of one of his Bluebird vehicles, whilst the popular children’s tale, Swallows and Amazons, by Arthur Ransome who was so inspired by the local landscape are also featured.

John Ruskin is given his own detailed exhibit, whilst other local personalities are also celebrated. Outside you will find a delightful miniature village, as well as information on dry stone walling and various other curiosities.

Useful Information

There is a small café and gift shop at the museum.


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