|The Robert Owen Museum. Photo by "Indigo Goat" Some rights reserved|
The Robert Owen Memorial Museum is on the ground floor of the Town Council building in the centre of Newtown. The building, of Arts and Crafts design and listed Grade 2, was erected in 1902, in order to provide a Free Library and a meeting room. The Co-operative Union subscribed part of the cost, in memory of Robert Owen. The Museum occupies the former Library portion.
The Museum is the only museum specifically devoted to Robert Owen. The bulk of the collection was acquired in the 1920s, some seventy years after his death. Most of the items are from Robert Owen’s time and have a direct association with him.
The Museum is intriguingly laid out in a domestic style, which suits the large numbers of pictures on display. Portraits of Robert Owen and prints of New Lanark are strongly represented. Also to be seen are mementoes of his birthplace, items from New Lanark, and various of Owen’s belongings, including a handsome bureau and some fine busts.
Unusual items on display include a ‘Silent Monitor’ from New Lanark, a life mask of Robert Owen, Labour Notes in hours (from Owen’s National Equitable Labour Exchanges), and a Book of Social Hymns (for Friends of the Rational System). The Collection section of this website includes a catalogue of the more important items.
Much of the collection consists of books and other printed material, most of which is not on display, but can be viewed by prior appointment. The Museum has 55 of Robert Owen’s letters, one of which is on display together with a transcript (his writing is almost illegible).This and other transcripts can be viewed on this web site.