Swansea Museum is the oldest museum in Wales. Completed in 1841, this Grade-2* listed building was commissioned by the Royal Institution of South Wales, a group of art and science enthusiasts. The building was designed to house the RISW’s array of collections as well as provide research and learning facilities.
Under threat of closure, the Swansea City Council saved the building and its collections in 1996. Swansea Museum now provides free access to six galleries with a variety of exhibits from an ancient mummy’s tomb to temporary exhibitions on current issues and modern interests. The museum benefits from flat access from rear and side with disabled parking spaces at rear, thus allowing full access to all levels and galleries via the lift.
Access to the maritime section is available in June, July and August. The museum has three boats in its collections:
- Lightship 'Helwick
- Tug boat Canning
- 1909 Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Olga
The Tramshed in the Marina displays memorabilia from the former street trams of Swansea and the Mumbles tram that ran around the edge of the bay from Swansea town centre to Mumbles pier.
Originally part of the former Maritime and Industrial Museum, the Tramshed on the Dylan Thomas Square is now run by Swansea Museum. This conservatory-style gallery displays memorabilia from the street trams of Swansea, including the famous Mumbles train. Large windows illuminate a double-decker tram as well as a reconstruction of the original 1804 horse-drawn Mumbles train, the first passenger railway service in the world.
While the ground floor allows level access, the mezzanine and trams currently do not.
Landore Collections Centre
The Landore Collections Centre is located in the former rolling mills building of the former Hafod/Morfa Copperworks, parts of which date back to the 1830s. For most of its industrial life it was used as a rolling mills but was in use as a warehouse before the Local Authority acquired the site in 1980.
The building provides nearly 2,000 square metres (22,000 sq ft) of open-plan storage space for the reserve collections of both Swansea Museum and the former Maritime and Industrial Museum. Side rooms provide office and additional environmentally controlled storage space.
Plans to further develop and regenerate the surrounding area into a focus for Wales’ copper history will compliment the Collections Centre as a heritage venue.