Canal Museums & Waterways Museums
The best places to see the story of the changes that the canals brought are in the waterways museums. On thing they all share is the dedication and enthusiasm of their staff, a huge range of experience and information on offer.
They include the Gloucester Waterways Museum which tackles the whole broad subject of waterways in a comprehensive way, from water supply to wildlife, whilst the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port has a huge collection of historic boats and barges, many of which are displayed afloat and working. Sadly the poor condition of many due to lack of funds has led to some being broken up and others stored on dry land. There are are several smaller canal museums, such as the Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne in Northamptonshire, and many exhibitions and interpretation centres all over the canal system. Although they all give some sort of historic overview, each naturally tends to reflect the history of their own particular area which is part of their interest and charm.
Some very interesting canal exhibitions are part of larger regional museums, The Black Country Living Museum in Dudley, for example, has a number of complete boats as well as a recreated working canal boatyard to service them.