Museum welcomes 11 millionth visitor

Dudley’s Black Country Living Museum has now welcomed over 11 million visitors since opening its doors in 1978. The award-winning open-air museum, which tells stories from the Industrial Revolution through to the 1960s, gave a special welcome to its 11 millionth visitor, Ian Castelino, when he visited on 25 April 2024.

School teacher Ian, who was in the UK on a two-week holiday from Bangalore, India, was joined on his first ever day out at the Museum with his brother-in-law. The Museum’s 1950s bobby on the beat and brickmaker greeted them, letting them know that while Ian’s brother-in-law had been visitor 10,999,999, it was Ian who made the milestone.   

Ian was delighted to be announced the Museum’s 11 millionth visitor, questioning whether it was a late April Fool’s Day prank before thanking the Museum and saying:

“I’ve been teaching my students about the Industrial Revolution, so it’s great to be here to see where it started. I’m particularly looking forward to experiencing the Museum’s Drift Mine to have a glimpse at what life would have been like for a miner in the 1850s.”

Ian was presented with a year’s free membership to the Museum, a £50 voucher to spend in the Gift Shop, a souvenir ‘Black Country Living Museum’ brick, and a complimentary lunch for two in the Museum’s 1960s Elephant & Castle Pub.

Andrew Lovett OBE, Chief Executive, commented:

“We’re delighted to have welcomed 11 million visitors through our doors.

“Since reaching the milestone of 10 million visitors in 2020, we have demonstrated our resilience following the Covid-19 pandemic, when the Museum had to close on two occasions. Without the vital support given to us by Arts Council England and the Culture Recovery Fund, we would not have been able to bounce back so quickly, now reaching 107% of pre-pandemic attendance.

“We have also stepped into living memory with the largest capital development in our history, telling new stories with the opening of new historic features – 1950s vinyl is available to get your toes tapping in the listening booths of Stanton’s Music Shop, you can take a 1960s mothercraft class in our recreation of Lea Road Infant Welfare Centre and you can come face-to-face with brickmaking and aluminium die-casting in our 1950s Industrial Quarter.”

More of the Museum’s capital development will be opening this year, including Dudley’s Woodside Library, which has been moved brick-by-brick from Holly Hall and given a sustainable purpose in the Museum, as well as a brand-new 1960s-themed evening event on Saturday 29 June.

“Thank you to all of our 11 million visitors who have visited us,” Andrew added.

“As a registered educational charity, we are nothing without our visitors. Their support is vital and hugely appreciated. We’re very proud to be part of the Black Country community and hope to celebrate another visitor milestone ahead of our 50th anniversary in 2028.”