Grace Darling Museum
The RNLI Grace Darling Museum commemorates the life of Victorian Britain’s greatest heroine, who risked her life to rescue nine survivors from the wrecked SS Forfarshire on 7 September 1838.
About the museum
The Grace Darling Museum guides you through Grace’s upbringing and life in the lighthouse, the events of the rescue that propelled her into the limelight and her status as a national heroine. Learn about Grace’s story through her personal items, including letters, family portraits and the famous coble used in the rescue. And find yourself transported back to 1838 with our audio-visual tools and a stunning model of the Longstone lighthouse.
The museum was originally opened on this site in 1938 - and today it’s a stylish and environmentally friendly building that does justice to the displays, events and research that takes place here.
In 2018 we were again awarded the Visit England rosette for Quality Assured Visitor Attractions, and our high ratings on TripAdvisor meant that our Certificate of Excellence was extended into 2019. Have a look at the reviews!
And if that’s not enough, you can also take a virtual tour of the Grace Darling Museum.
The museum's Lantern Room is available for private hire. It has excellent facilities and is fully wheelchair accessible. Please send us an email for more information.
Looking to volunteer?
We’re always looking for volunteers!
We are excited to welcome you back to the museum and have worked hard to make your visit as safe and enjoyable as possible.
What to expect when you visit:
- Hand-sanitising stations available around the museum
- Increased cleaning of public areas
- A one-way route throughout the building as well as social distancing markers
- Booking is not required. However, as we will allow fewer people into the building you may have to queue outside at busy periods
- We encourage the wearing of face coverings
A film installation by Sophie Dixon
7 September – 1 October 2021
This multi-screen film installation by artist Sophie Dixon explores the story of Grace Darling from her childhood, right through to her death in 1842.
Visitors will be transported to Grace’s home on Longstone Island where digital reconstructions of objects from the museum’s collections will bring her story to life. An original score by musician Kathy Alberici weaves together sounds of the Farne Islands and North East voices.
Artist Sophie Dixon: “Grace Darling’s role in the rescue of crew and passengers on board the paddle steamer Forfarshire is known all over the world, but for many people, that’s all they know about her. Inspired by various, often conflicting accounts, Grace is a poetic exploration of Grace Darling’s life and the impact of her fame.”
Grace is suitable for all ages. Booking is not required, and entry is free.
Grace is presented as part of Meeting Point, a national programme led by contemporary arts agency Arts&Heritage that partners leading UK and international artists with museums to produce new artworks inspired by the museums and their collections. The project is funded through Arts Council England.
Grace Darling was one of the Victorian era’s most celebrated heroines. On 7 September 1838, at the age of 22, she risked her life to rescue the stranded survivors of the wrecked steamship Forfarshire, a feat of bravery which changed her life dramatically.
Her extraordinary act of bravery became internationally known, making front page news and even reaching Queen Victoria. She became the media celebrity of her day and was showered with honours, including the RNLI's Silver Medal for Gallantry.
Tragically, Grace died 4 years later, aged just 26. She is still remembered for her courageous actions, and the bravery she demonstrated that night continues to inspire the values we hold today. The museum was established in 1938 to commemorate her life.
We welcome schools and groups to the museum. We’re a small museum and can get very busy, so booking is essential to ensure your group has a great visit. To book, please phone the museum on 01668 214910 or email AskGraceDarling@rnli.org.uk.
All our talks and workshops are run by volunteers and cost £1 per person attending.
We offer introductory talks about Grace Darling in the Lantern Room upstairs. These are dependent on volunteer availability, so please get in touch to arrange this beforehand. Grace Darling. If your group cannot make it to the museum, we do offer outreach talks as well.
We offer a variety of workshops for primary school groups, run by experienced volunteers. Please see below for details.
Please note: If your class has over 20 children, we will need to split the group.
You to the Rescue
PSHE, citizenship, history and drama through role play.
Bringing the story of the rescue to life through costume and drama. Pupils become the main characters in the famous story, explore the emotions involved, and gain an understanding of help and rescue.
Duration: 45 minutes
Maximum pupil capacity: 20
Meet the Family
Literacy and history through object handling.
Pupils will ‘meet’ the Darling family to hear about their story and get a chance to ask questions. Find out about Grace Darling, her family and Victorian life in a lighthouse by exploring objects that tell us about their lives. Designed to inspire speaking, listening and responding.
Duration: 45 minutes
Maximum pupil capacity: 20
Art, design, literacy and history through puppetry.
Recreate the story of Grace Darling with a Victorian shadow puppet show. Pupils make their own puppets and then act out the story.
Duration: 30 minutes
Maximum pupil capacity: 18
Bookable lunch space for school groups may be available. This is for a maximum of 30 pupils at a time. Please enquire about this at the time of your booking.
If you’re planning a school visit to the museum, don’t forget to have a look at our Museum Education Pack (PDF 3.22MB). It contains lesson plans you can use prior to your visit to help you make the most of your time with us, worksheets to use at the museum, and suggested follow-up work. Information to help with risk assessments is also available in the pack.
A film-project in partnerships with Beacon Films CIC
Beacon Films CIC worked with the Grace Darling Museum to create a series of films, including an original music composition, that tell the story of Grace Darling. The films and music have been woven together to create an interactive exhibit that screens in the Grace Darling Museum and went on a UK tour in 2019.
Beacon Films CIC supports filmmakers with learning disabilities, autism and additional needs to make and showcase great productions and develop valuable creative skills.
This project was made possible thanks to National Lottery players with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and further support from Spirit of 2012.
Watch the films here:
- Grace Darling: Before the Storm
- Grace Darling: The Storm
- Grace Darling: After the Storm
- Grace Darling: The Full Soundtrack
- Grace Darling: Behind the Scenes
RNLI Grace Darling Museum
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March – October
Tuesday – Friday 10am-5pm
November – February
Tuesday – Friday 10am-4pm
Opening hours are subject to volunteer availability. For up-to-date opening times, including additional weekends, please check our Facebook page.
How to find us
The museum, at the heart of Bamburgh village, sits opposite St Aidan's church and is just a short walk from Bamburgh castle.
Buses travel into Bamburgh from Berwick and Alnwick. The bus stop in Bamburgh is a couple of minutes' walk from the museum.
You can park in the large car park opposite Bamburgh castle.
Our nearest rail station is Berwick-upon Tweed.
Please note: there are public toilets near the museum.