Celebrating Britain's most iconic seaside town. 

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.
Blackpool Council

Despite being one of Britian’s best loved seaside resorts, Blackpool has never had a permanent museum. In 2024, Showtown opened its doors creating a new cultural institution for the town that celebrates its entertainment heritage and the part it’s played in the development of British popular culture.

Behind the curtain

The museum is located within a corner unit in the Sands Venue Resort Hotel. Our work involved carrying out the base build works to create a space that could support a museum function, allowing for the integration of the interpretation designs to create a seamless new visitor experience. 


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

It's showtime!

Entrance to Showtown is via a shocking pink staircase, reminiscent of a stick of Blackpool rock. Once inside, visitors are treated to six vibrant, interactive exhibitions across more than 1000 sqm, allowing them 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.

A temporary exhibition gallery was also 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.

Circus themed exhibition space

Accessible for all

When looking at the museum's design, we wanted to think about the community first. People – workers, volunteers, visitors – are at the heart of the Showtown design, just as the heritage of Blackpool is defined by the people who have lived and worked there.

To ensure that the visitor experience is enjoyed by all, each part of the museum has been designed with accessibility in mind. We worked closely with an accessibility group to understand how best to make the museum as welcoming as possible to the largest number of people. As a result, a changing places toilet, gender-neutral facilities and an education centre catered to full accessibility needs have been provided

A child looks into an interactive mirror display at Showtown, Blackpool
Children watch a punch and judge show at Showtown, Blackpool
"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.”

Elizabeth Moss, chief executive of Showtown

Image Credits

Showtown, Casson Mann, © Hufton and Crow

Meet the team