Museum celebrates ten years

by | 31 May 2024 | Community facility, Community Focus, Heritage, Retford

Quite a number of people will remember the old Newcastle Arms in Tuxford. At one time it was a centre for celebrations and Sunday lunches. Sadly, as things changed, it fell on bad times. It ended up empty, vandalised and boarded up for about 10 years. Finally, it was rescued form the buildings at risk list about 12 years ago by Sally Mitchell and her son John. After two years of restoration, Sally realised the first floor would be an ideal place to house her collection, and to make room in her house to be able to move again.

Inspired by horse museums she had seen on the continent, she thought it a shame that England, with a large equestrian community, didn’t have a horse museum. It is the only Museum of the Horse in the UK and since it opened, in June 2014, it has more than doubled in size, has made three TV appearances, won a Nottinghamshire Heritage Award and been declared by the Club International d’Eperronnerie to be the most comprehensive horse museum in Europe.

But the Museum is not just for horse people. It is the history of all of us. Remember, the horse was the driving force throughout the world for over 3,000 years but we have only had the combustion engine for 200 years and the car for little over 150 years! All our history was built on the horse, it was our food, transport, war machine and it drove the first engines of the industrial revolution. Many of our sayings today come from the horse. Visit the Museum and discover some of them.

To celebrate the anniversary Sally is putting on an exhibition of recent acquisitions with a diverse collection including a bit from the 4th and 5th century BC through Roman pieces to late medieval and into the 20th century. It will include clothing, a child’s frock coat from the early 19th century, an original Mail Coach Guard’s uniform from the first half of the 19th century and some wonderful silk britches from the late 18th century, as well as a child’s riding outfit from the 1950s. Also included will be veterinary equipment, unusual saddles, Drover’s badges and even a Christening Whip, given to the children of wealthy families as Christening gifts. There are gilded buttons from the Royal House of Hannover and a buckle from the Shah of Persia’s Coronation Coach.

As well as the exhibition, the rest of the museum will be on show as usual and it includes sections on Pit Ponies, Military Horses, Native Americans as well as North and South American cowboys, African and Indian collections and many others.

The anniversary exhibition will run from 10th June until 1st September, open from Monday to Friday between 10.00am to 4.00pm and on Saturdays from 10.00am to 1.00pm.
Explore on your own, with friends and family or it is an ideal place for group visits which can be booked by appointment. With its own spacious car park behind the museum and a coffee shop in the courtyard, it is a lovely way to spend a few hours.

For more information visit or follow them on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram, ‘Museum of the Horse’. Entry is free but donations are very much appreciated as the museum has no outside funding.