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Published 12th Apr 2011

Photo from Steel Life exhibition.

Steel Life 1875-2011 , a new exhibition at the Dorman Museum explores the ways in which the steel industry has shaped our landscape and our lives.

This new exhibition at the Dorman Museum, originally called “Death of Steel 1875-2010” and created and shown by ArtsBank in 2010 as a response to the closure of the local steel works, explores the ways in which the steel industry has shaped our landscape and our lives.

Re-named “Steel Life” to reflect the recent announcement of the purchase and planned reopening of the works by SSI, this collection of work, from many decades, offers an insight into the changing fortunes of the industry and the lives of the people at its heart.

To the outsider’s eye, Teesside may seem like an environment contaminated by heavy industry, but as these paintings, photographs and sculptures show, to the familiar, the landscape can be awe inspiring.

The exhibition at the Dorman Museum opens at a much more hopeful time for steel making on Teesside. The exhibition reflects this, celebrating the present and looking to the future of the Teesside steel industry, as well as providing an insight into its recent past.

The new exhibition includes five life-size steel figures by sculptor Ray Lonsdale, which attracted such acclaim when they were displayed at ArtsBank.

The exhibition also features striking photographs by Ian Macdonald and Derek Smith, which will provide visitors with a glimpse into the life of the blast furnace over recent years.

A variety of new artwork by local painters and photographers is also on show. The result is a powerful, emotive exhibition of high quality artwork inspired by our region and its distinguished steel making history.

Phil Philo, Senior Curator Museums, says, “We are so pleased to be able to stage this exhibition and to re-cast it as a celebration of the changing fortunes of our local steel industry. ArtsBank did a fantastic job in bringing artwork of such quality and diversity together for this exhibition – as reflected in the number of visitors who saw the work in Saltburn and their positive comments about it. We hope that those who missed it the first time round will take the chance to see it here in Middlesbrough.”

Exhibition information

Steel Life 1875-2011 is on at the Dorman Museum April 19 - July 17 2011. The Dorman Museum is located at Linthorpe Road, adjacent to Albert Park in Middlesbrough Postcode: TS5 6LA, Tel: 01642 813781.

Access information for the Dorman Museum

The Dorman Museum offers full disabled access throughout.

Wheelchair and pram access is available to all floors.

Our lift can accommodate up to three wheelchairs and three carers or teachers at any one time.

There are 2 disabled parking bays immediately in front of the museum and the museum can be accessed via a ramp to the automated front door.

A wheelchair is available for use by visitors, prior notice is preferred.

Male, female and disabled public toilets are located on the ground floor and there are clearly marked fire escapes to the front & rear of the building.

Useful links

Dorman Museum

Dorman Museum on facebook


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