Beamish, The North of England Open Air Museum is an open air museum located at Beamish, near the town of Stanley, County Durham, England.
Beamish’s guiding principle is to show what life was like in urbanised North East England at the climax of industrialisation in the early 20th century —
much of the restoration and interpretation is specific to 1913 — together with portions of countryside under influence of the Industrial Revolution in 1825.
On its 300 acre (120 hectare) estate it utilises a mixture of translocated, original and replica buildings,
a huge collection of artifacts, working vehicles and equipment, costumed interpreters, and livestock.
Beamish is the first English museum to be financed and administered by a consortium of County Councils (Cleveland, Durham, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear)
and it was the first regional open air museum in England.
The museum was first proposed in 1958 and the collections were established on the Beamish site in 1970 under director Frank Atkinson (b. 1924).
Atkinson, concerned to preserve the customs, traditions and ways of speech of the region before it was too late,
adopted a policy of "unselective collecting" — "you offer it to us and we will collect it."
The first exhibition was held in Beamish Hall in 1971 and the present site was opened to visitors for the first time in 1972 with the first translocated buildings
(the railway station and colliery winding engine) being erected the following year. For some years the museum has been 96% self-funding, mainly from admission charges.
Since 1986 visitors have entered the museum through an entrance arch formed by a steam hammer, across a former opencast mining site and
through a converted stable block (from Greencroft, near Lanchester, County Durham).
The above article is courtesy of Wikipedia at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beamish_Museum
Above and below - Free visitor transport at Beamish which transports visitors to the various areas of the vast complex