Ruin to Museum Image

From Ruin to Museum

The Creation of Nottingham Castle
Museum in Regional, National and
International Context

Henry Dawson (1811-1878)
Nottingham Castle on Fire. 10th October, 1831
Oil on canvas
NCM 1878-196
Courtesy of Nottingham City Museums and Galleries


Wednesday 4 July 2018




Arts Centre Lecture Theatre (A30), Department of Music, University of Nottingham


£20 (£10 students)

Register for the conference here


  • Arnaud Bertinet (Sorbonne, Paris)
  • Uta Coburger (Conservator of Heidelberg and Mannheim Castle at the Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg)
  • Richard Gaunt (University of Nottingham)
  • Thierry Greub (University of Cologne)
  • Tristram Hunt (Director, Victoria & Albert Museum)
  • Alice Insley (independent scholar)
  • Donata Levi (Università degli Studi di Udine)
  • Ellen McAdam (Director, Birmingham Museums Trust)
  • Dominique Poulot (Sorbonne, Paris)
  • Richard Wrigley (University of Nottingham)

The conference

This year marks the 140th anniversary of the opening of Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery. On 3 July 1878, the Midlands Counties Art Museum opened in Nottingham Castle. Following its burning in an anti-Reform riot in 1831, and 40 years as a charred shell, the Duke of Newcastle’s palace was converted into a modern museum. Its displays included a wide range of objects – contemporary art, historic portraits, Civil War memorabilia, glass, porcelain, silver, textiles, including local lace. The creation of the new art museum had a national dimension, being supported by the South Kensington Museum, the forerunner of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. This conference will bring together speakers on the Midlands context (discussing Birmingham and Derby), and also explore comparisons with France, Italy and Germany. Reviewing the museum’s history is timely, given the multi-million project to transform the Castle and the art gallery it contains, planned for re-opening in 2020.







The University of Nottingham
University Park

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5151