Mansfield Museum was the brainchild of William Edward Baily, a wealthy local collector and natural historian. In 1903 Baily offered his collection and a building - the 'Tin Tabernacle' in which to house it, to Mansfield. The museum opened the following year.
Important new collections donated by local men, such as those of naturalist Joseph Whitaker and artist Albert Sorby Buxton, soon required a move from the deteriorating Tabernacle and the present building opened in 1938.
In the mid-sixties a fourth gallery was added and in 1989 the 'Arcade' extension took the museum 'out to the road', raising its public profile. A major 1990s development provided state-of-the-art storage facilities and an education room.
In 2004 the Museum added the XplorActive hands-on environmental gallery. Followed by the refurbishment of the Made in Mansfield gallery in 2014.
The museum is very much focused on working with groups across the community, from local schools to Cub troops, via reminiscence groups, artists' societies, archaeological associations and many others.
A child-friendly atmosphere encourages visits by younger people and their carers. Changing exhibitions aimed at all sectors of local society aim to keep the museum a relevant player in Mansfield's cultural life.
Education in its broadest sense is a core activity. The museum houses many areas in which to develop personal interests such as creation stations and hands-on experiences, along with opportunities to increase your knowledge on Mansfield's Story.
Mansfield Museum welcomes audiences and participants of all ages from across Mansfield and beyond. All of the diverse, creative experiences that we offer are enjoyed in an atmosphere that is both welcoming and inspiring. Increasingly, the focus of the service has shifted to include work outside our buildings and physical assets and into the communities we serve.
The museum and other members within Mansfield's Cultural Services, have a long and proud history and in recent years we have been able to position ourselves as a cultural leader in the area. In the future we aim to continue to develop our service as a wellbeing asset for the town and continue growth to be a destination of choice and a vibrant centre for the arts. Cultural Services is seen as a major influencer in the lives of local people, a resource and a focal point in the community and a driver in the local economy. Most importantly it provides a space for all people to come together to see, listen, engage, make, explore and quite simply to enjoy the arts, heritage and culture in all their many and varied aspects in their hometown.
Mansfield's Cultural Services plays a crucial role in preserving local culture and heritage and March 2020 saw the service begin a journey to rebuild a sustainable and resilient organisation prepared for the future during a global pandemic. Mansfield Museum plays a key economic, social and placemaking role, enriches our society and brings people together to be proud of their town.