Work completes on Showtown

Blackpool's first museum, Showtown celebrates the town's role in the development of British popular entertainment. 

Circus themed exhibition space

Work has completed on Showtown, Blackpool’s new museum of fun and entertainment.

Housed on the first floor of the Sands Centre, on the town’s iconic seafront promenade, Showtown is Blackpool’s first ever museum, telling the extraordinary stories of the UK’s first mass seaside resort and its role in the development of British popular entertainment.

As architects to the project, we led a multi-disciplinary design team to bring the vision for the museum to life. This has included working alongside exhibition designer Casson Mann to integrate the architectural designs with the exhibition and interpretation designs to create a seamless new experience.

two girls dance in front of a strictly come dancing exhibit at showtown by Buttress Architects
Children playing with an interactive museum exhibit

The new museum features six vibrant, interactive exhibitions across more than 1000 sqm, that allow visitors to discover more about Blackpool’s links with magic, dance, comedy, live variety, illumination, circus, and sideshows. Each of the galleries is a mixture of objects and stories from the Blackpool Council collections, 27 loaned objects from the V&A, and rarely shown items from the performers themselves.

The new museum also includes a temporary exhibition gallery which has been designed to meet Government Indemnity Standards. This will allow Showtown to display loaned items from public and private individuals or collections within the UK and abroad.

To ensure that the visitor experience can be enjoyed by all, each part of the museum has been designed with accessibility at the fore. Following close consultation with an accessibility group a changing places toilet, gender-neutral facilities and an education centre catered to full accessibility needs have been provided

three girls walk up the pink stairs to Showtown in Blackpool. oversized sculptures of rock and deckchairs hang from the ceiling, and ha ha ha is an illuminated sign at the top.

Elizabeth Moss, chief executive of Showtown

“The lights are on, the curtain is up and we can’t wait to welcome people to Showtown. The opening of the museum is a significant moment for us and for Blackpool. Fun and amusement sit at the very heart of our innovative and world class museum which celebrates this incredible town’s entertainment history and the people who have put it on the map. We have reimagined how a museum should be, through our innovative displays of Blackpool’s own rich collection shown alongside key loans from international institutions and the performers themselves. These objects will delight and inform while the immersive activities throughout the galleries will allow our visitors to go behind the scenes, experiencing the very best of Blackpool.”

Neal Charlton, director at Buttress

"In developing Showtown, we’ve delivered more than a museum, we’ve created a new landmark to Blackpool’s cultural legacy. The town’s heritage as an arena for fun and entertainment has been front and centre to our designs and we look forward to seeing visitors of all ages explore and have their imaginations ignited by the new spaces.” 

Showtown is expected to attract over 200,000 visitors each year making a positive contribution to Blackpool’s economy through job creation and tourism

Meet the team