Friends of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums

Join the Friends and support the museum by helping at events, fundraising, volunteering or just by visiting the museums. Click here to join now >

Plus don't miss the exciting and information-packed Friends Facebook Group.

Join the Friends of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum

The Friends of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum (reg. charity no 518657) exist to support the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust and its mission to protect the fascinating stories of innovation and invention that took place in the Ironbridge Gorge, the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century.

By becoming a Friend, you will directly be supporting the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust and its work across all the museums, its heritage conservation and education projects. Each Friend also receives the following benefits as part of their membership: 

  • 10% discount in all Museum catering outlets and shops
  • Discounts on special events
  • Priority booking
  • Member only entry at Blists Hill at busy times
  • Friends only events
  • Free parking at museum car parks (excludes car parks managed by Telford & Wrekin Council)
  • Free admission to the Friends Talks Programme
  • Access to Friends trips and social events
  • Friends Newsletter

Friends also play an important role in ‘museum life’ getting involved in the following ways:

  • Staffing exhibits
  • Providing a trained guiding service
  • Purchasing important additions to the Museum’s collections
  • Providing ‘Kick-start’ donations for larger national grants
  • Researching into the social history of the area, recording memories and volunteering in the Library and Archive collections
  • Contributing specialised knowledge and interests

Please contact us on 01952 435 900 or email

Click here to see the Friends' updated Privacy Policy.

An update from the Friends Committee (November 2023)


The start of the winter season at the Museum affords a chance to reflect on what has been a busy year for the Friends so far. An initial calculation of time volunteered by the Friends in helping the Museum this year shows a total in excess of 2,500 hours so far, an impressive total reflecting the importance of the support the Friends offer to the Museum.

Inclined Lift at Blists Hill

The Friends support manifests itself in a variety of ways: volunteering as stewards at numerous Museum sites, guiding, supporting the Museum at various events, working in the archaeological archives helping to digitise records as well as providing financial and physical support for Museum projects. This year alone the Friends have made a significant contribution towards the cost of renovating the Inclined Lift at Blists Hill and provided the expertise to work on steam exhibits, such as the Sentinel engines at Coalbrookdale and the replica Trevithick engine at Blists Hill.

Sentinel Project Volunteers

Blists Hill Museum celebrated its 50th Birthday this year with a series of events culminating with a lecture by Sir Neil Cossons, the first Director of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. He reminisced about the creation of Blists Hill, observing that the Friends had been established four years earlier in 1969 and that without their support the success of the early years of the Museum would not have been possible, to say nothing of the continued and ongoing support offered by the Friends throughout their 54 years of existence.

Blists Hill Poster

New Friends tote bags on sale

As part of the Friends' fundraising efforts, we are delighted to say that the new Friends cotton tote bags, featuring the Elephant on the Iron Bridge, are now on sale for £5 each. If you would like one or more as ‘stocking fillers’, please order through Friends Administrator, Verity Jones, and we will get them to you. The bags will be on sale at all Friends events too - an opportunity not to be missed!

Geraldine King with Friends cotton tote bags

Friends Talks Programme Winter/Spring Schedule 2023-2024

The Friends Talks are held in the Glass Classroom at Coalbrookdale and provide an interesting mix of topics related to the industrial age in general and the Ironbridge Gorge in particular. Free to the Friends but available to anyone else at £1 admission.

  • Talks schedule:

    • November 22 Wednesday 2.30pm – Early Maps of Shropshire (1577-1751) by Dr Pat de Haan
    • January 24 Wednesday 2.30pm – Conserving the Historic Estate of the Museum, an update by Lucy Oldnall, Project Director
    • February 21 Wednesday 2.30pm – Early Maps of Shropshire (Part 2) Transport by road, canal and rail by Dr Pat de Haan
    • March 13 Wednesday 2.30pm – The Coalbrookdale Archives Lecture: Industrialisation in Victorian Literature by Professor David Amigoni of Keele University

The support provided by the Friends to the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust over their 54 years of existence is regularly acknowledged by the Trust as being of vital help in its mission to preserve, interpret and explain the industrial history of the Ironbridge Gorge.

You can become part of that support by joining the Friends via and keep up with the latest news of our activities by joining the Friends Facebook Page at:  Friends of Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust

If a volunteer role is something that might interest you, our Volunteer Coordinator, Lesley Walker, would be delighted to hear from you.

Please email Lesley for more information (

Volunteer Coffee Mornings are held on the first Friday of each month and are a great way to find out more and meet people. Contact Lesley for details of the venue and topic of the next one.