Learning & Schools

We can accommodate up to 30 children at one time. We offer Preliminary discussions with the Curator / Education officer to plan your visit.

Resources available

Please scroll down to see items available for schools to download

We have artefacts, photos and archives to inspire children's learning. We can provide:

  • Guided tour within the museum for group bookings
  • Unassisted school visits
  • Town Trail leaflets and tours pre-booked
  • Museum photographic archives
  • GWR oral archives
  • Lectures on local subjects - pre-booking required
  • Visits to schools and groups, bringing objects which need to be pre-booked
  • 'Then and Now' views of the town, and Victorian Newton Abbot images on CD Rom

More to Explore - A Town Trail for Everyone!

In 2011 the museum launched its Town Trail leaflet and walk. The trail will take about an hour and a half to complete,depending on how fast you walk!

If you manage to collect all the brass rubbings on the numbered town trail plaques you will be able to collect a free prize from the museum!
(When the museum is closed it is possible to pick up your prize from the Tourist Information Centre in the town).

St Leonards Tower

Visits to St Leonard’s Clock Tower can also be arranged. Ring the museum Curator, Felicity Cole, on 01626 201121 to discuss your needs.
Newton Abbot has so much hidden history - let us reveal it to you!

GWR Railway Room

PLUS!... the GWR Railway Room with its ‘hands on’ working signal box, can always stimulate interest in the railways!
We can custom build your visit, please ring us or email to discuss your needs.
For more information ring Felicity Cole on 01626-2011or email [email protected]

Our Strengths

Links to the National Curriculum
Our museum collections can support cross-curricular learning and skills development at all key stages.

Our particular strengths are:


  • The growth and development of Newton Abbot, which includes:
  • Victorian Newton Abbot
  • The Railways and the influence of I. K. Brunel on the town
  • The impact of The Great Western Railway on the town


  • Story telling and writing on all subjects


  • The development of the town from early beginnings
  • Butterfly collection

Science and Design & Technology

  • Replica of John Lethbridge's diving machine and the working signal box, locomotives, the atmospheric railway model

Art & Design

  • Victorian costume
  • Aller Vale local art pottery of the Arts & Crafts movement
  • Painting collection

Each year the museum creates a new exhibition on the history of the town or the Great Western Railway, including:

2014 'Service & Sacrifice' WW1 exhibition
2013 Architects & Architecture of the town
2012 Sporting Life in Newton Abbot
2011 Notable Newtonians
2010 The Sights & Sounds of Newton Abbot
2009 John Lethbridge - Newton's 18th Century Inventor and Diver

Each exhibition can be used to stimulate creative writing/story telling to stimulate discussions on:

  • Materials used in the past
  • Exploration and invention
  • History and development of the town
  • Shipwrecks, seafaring and pirates!

Local people that have made a difference to their local area, UK or Internationally!

Local History Trails

The museum can also offer 'History Trails' within the centre of town, with short walks and talks to paint a picture of life in Newton Abbot, centred around the Clock Tower, Courtenay Street, Union Street and the Library. Booking needs to be arranged well in advance and is essential.
Ring the museum Curator, Felicity Cole, on 01626 201121 to discuss your needs.

Newton Abbot has so much hidden history - let us reveal it to you!

Facilities available

  • Disabled WC
  • Small book shop
  • The Town Hall Council Chamber within the museum for school visit use (when available, booking essential)
  • Ex-railwaymen sharing their steam stories of fry-ups and railway life
  • Preliminary discussions with the Curator / Education officer to plan your visit
  • Enthusiastic, friendly staff!

Notable Newtonians

The museum exhibition for 2011 celebrates 'Notable Newtonians' - and there have been so many! From Ivy Williams, the first lady to be called to the bar, to Mr Frank Matcham, the nationally acclaimed Victorian theatre designer.
The exhibition this year is interlinked with the newly developed Town Trail, leaflets are available from the Museum and Tourist Information Office. The museum can offer a guide to help you find the best route for your projects. Or, you can plot the route yourself using the leaflet and the numbered slate markers.

A visit to the museum will enable the children to think about:-

  • The history and development of the town, including the 3,000 year old carved oak figure and bronze - age spear head found in the river bed, by clay workers in 1877;
  • Tudor wood carving/Conservation and care of ancient artefacts /Tudor art and design -‘The Heart of Oak’ Sandford Orleigh Screen project, to restore a rare renaissance carved wooden screen.( Workshops are being developed which will be available this year. Look out for flyers with all the timetable details);
  • An overview of the development of transport through the ages;
  • The impact of the coming of the railways on the town;
  • Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Broad Gauge and Atmospheric Railway;
  • Victorian Newton Abbot;
  • Exploration and invention/ ship wrecks and pirates!/trade and commerce-John Lethbridge;
  • Commerce and Trade- Clay/Leather/Wool/Railways;
  • The Notable people from the town who had an influence on the world;
  • The Sights & Sounds of the town;
  • Wartime Newton Abbot- First & Second World War.

The very successful John Lethbridge exhibition will be available for a re-visit. It will be your last opportunity to see the ‘treasure’ salvaged from the Slot ter Hooge, as it will be returned to Robert Stenuit at the end of the year.

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