Focus on Swindon’s latest exhibitions


Focus on Swindon’s latest exhibitions – from the world’s fastest railway to stately home celebrations and cutting-edge art.

Swindon is home to many great museums and galleries and this summer it welcomes a host of new exhibitions with something to excite heritage buffs, inquisitive kids and modern art lovers alike.

STEAM - Museum of the Great Western Railway is housed in a beautifully restored Grade II listed railway building in the heart of the former Swindon railway works, located right next to Swindon's Designer Outlet.

The museum’s new exhibition ‘Spark of Genius’ celebrates the forward-thinking ideas of the GWR by exploring the lives of eight people who followed in the footsteps of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The exhibition explores a wide range of inventions that helped shape the Great Western Railway, from signalling, to locomotive design and from building tunnels to modernising stations.

‘Spark of Genius’ complements two other ongoing exhibitions. ‘World’s Fastest’ explores the GWR’s race to become the fastest railway in the world while ‘Time on Trial’ tells the story of the exhilarating speed trials that took place between the GWR and other railway companies between 1910 and 1948. 

Visitors can take advantage of STEAM’s Kids for a Quid promotion running over the summer holidays. Up to four children can visit STEAM for just £1 each when accompanied by a full-paying adult. Tickets must be bought online or visitors can download the voucher from STEAM’s website.

Lydiard Park is a beautiful historic estate on the western edge of Swindon, with the Palladian House, Church and Walled Garden, set in 260 acres of parkland. Throughout 2019, it is celebrating 75 years since the local authority in Swindon took over the ownership of Lydiard House and Park.

Never-before-seen paintings and photographs from the Lydiard House collection will go on show in ‘Visions of Lydiard’, while ‘Celebrating 75 Years’ will show the history of extensive renovation work carried out since Swindon corporation purchased the estate during the Second World War, when the grounds housed both wounded American troops and German prisoners of war.

Swindon Museum and Art Gallery’s run of stimulating temporary exhibitions continues with ‘Touring the Swindon Collection, 60 Years On’. In 1959, the Swindon Collection of Modern British art began a tour of sixteen towns and cities of the United Kingdom. From Falmouth to Sunderland, Southend-on-Sea to Bolton, thousands of museum visitors were introduced to paintings by Paul Nash, LS Lowry, Gwen John and Graham Sutherland.

This exhibition brings together the 44 works of art sent ‘on tour’ in 1959 and presents them alongside some of the most important acquisitions from recent decades.

Just across the road from Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, OINK is a quirky art gallery and design space that offers a varied mix of contemporary art in the form of paintings, prints, sculpture and ceramics. The gallery space is accompanied by an exciting collection of design-led crafted and commercial furniture, lighting and gifts by independent British and international designers.

OINK’s latest exhibition is dedicated to American artist Annabelle Del Valle who flew over from Los Angeles for the opening and was given free reign to spend three days in the gallery’s immersive installation room to hang 98 framed pieces.

Annabelle’s work is informed mainly by architecture and the environment. She says, "I often use commercially-themed imagery in my work to address ideas of visual perception as well as political, philosophical and social views. Using recycled images and found objects is a technique that stems from my thoughts about mass production and its enormous impact on the world."