THE history of Powys is a rich one and such memories have been stored by our community museums.

Museums tell the story of not just our communities but those who made them long ago and their labours are still appreciated today.

Powys has a host of museums with a difference.

The County Times shares five unique museums which serve their communities and each are well-worth a visit.

Please ensure you contact the museums in advance to ensure they are open to the public with some social distancing restrictions still in place.

Llanidloes Museum

AS to be expected in a museum dedicated to the history of Llanidloes, remnants of the town's industrial and political past dominate.

However the museum is also home to one of the rarest items of its sort in Wales - a two-headed lamb.

The most unusual exhibit is a stuffed two-headed sheep, born in 1912, much to the surprise of a local sheep farmer no doubt.

The museum was established in 1930 and was originally housed in the town's iconic timber-framed Old Market Hall at the junction of Long Bridge Street and Great Oak Street.

The museum moved to the town hall in 1995 in a space shared with the library.

The museum covers the history of the Llanidloes region over the last 300 years.

There are old photos and objects connected to the Chartist riots, and a reproduction of a 'Wanted' poster offering up to 100 pounds reward to anyone who could help capture Thomas Jerman, a carpenter, and Lewis Humphreys, a shoemaker, who were freed by the mob.

The museum also includes artifacts from the town's wool and lead booms of the 19th century - including a 19th-century Colt revolver used by a captain of the Van Mines when collecting the miners' wages from Llanidloes.

County Times: Exhibits in the Llanidloes Museum.

Exhibits in the Llanidloes Museum.


Montgomery Old Bell Museum

A sixteenth century inn converted into a local history museum by Montgomery Civic Society.

It is run by volunteers and is the winner of a Prince of Wales Award.

The museum includes finds from excavations around the town, and objects from everyday life.

Exhibition displays material recovered during excavation and consolidation work carried out in the 1980s and 1990s.

Remnants of the battle of Montgomery on the 18th September 1644, where the Royalist forces were overcome by Sir Thomas Myddleton’s Parliamentary forces, was one of the largest conflicts ever fought on Welsh soil are also included in an exhibition with armour recovered from the castle well.

County Times: Old Bell Museum. Picture: Geograph.

Old Bell Museum. Picture: Geograph.


Andrew Logan Museum of Sculpture, Berriew

The Andrew Logan Museum of Sculpture is the first museum in Europe dedicated to a living artist.

Andrew had always dreamed of opening a museum to share with the world his unique approach to life and art.

He wanted the museum to be a vibrant space to display examples of the work he has created over the decades and to stage events that would share his vision and skill for curating performance and spectacle.

This started in 1988 when Andrew and his partner Michael Davis purchased redundant squash courts in Berriew and in 1991 the dream became a reality when the Andrew Logan Museum of Sculpture (ALMoS) opened to the public.

County Times:

Inside the Andrew Logan Museum of Sculpture at Berriew.


The National Cycle Museum, Llandrindod Wells

The museum in the Automobile Palace building was officially opened on March 21st 1997 by Tom Norton

It housed the private cycle collections of Mr Norton and Mr David Higman, curator from 1997-2010. The Norton collection was returned to the family on request in 2014

In 1998, cycles from the National Cycle Museum, Lincoln joined the display after that museum closed.

The museum at Llandrindod Wells then took over the charitable status of the National Cycle Museum Trust that had run the museum in Lincoln.

Based at The Automobile Palace, a very ornate grade 2 listed Art Deco building, which was built for Mr Tom Norton senior, starting in 1911 and originally known as The Palace of Sport.

The collection includes examples of the entire history of the evolution of cycling.

County Times: National Cycle Museum, Llandrindod Wells

National Cycle Museum, Llandrindod Wells.


WH Smith Museum, Newtown

The Newtown branch of WH Smith at 24 High Street is a unique surprise among the company’s many shops.

In the 1970’s a major modernisation programme of WH Smith’s outlets was in progress.

It was decided that just one shop should be conserved as a living example of how all Smiths had previously looked.

The shop was restored to its original condition – as it would have been when first opened in 1927.

Modern fittings and fixtures were removed to reveal the original tiles, mirrors and decorations, still in good condition. Oak shelving was restored, replacement tables to display books were created, underfloor heating installed, and the tube lighting was replaced by specially made 1920’s style of fittings.

The restoration was a great success and attracted a lot of interested visitors. Three years later the company museum was established upstairs, on the first floor, in a space that was once a W. H. Smith Lending Library.

The museum’s displays also explore news distribution, the work of newsboys and girls, the use of different forms of transport through the years, and the history of Smith’s railway bookstalls and chain of retail shops.

County Times: WH Smiths in Newtown. Picture: Geograph.

WH Smiths in Newtown. Picture: Geograph.