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Dresser exhibits hailed by visitor from across the pond

Heritage and history

Monday, 21 August 2023
Becca Goodrum, Maya Wright, and Sue Sedgwick viewing Dresser exhibits

A US scholar of a significant part of Middlesbrough’s history has hailed the “unreal experience” of the Dr Christopher Dresser collection at Dorman Museum.

Becca Goodrum, a curatorial associate at Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art in Denver, Colorado, recently visited Teesside having studied Dr Dresser’s work for a number of years.

As a result of her visit Becca now says she “can’t wait to continue our partnership from across the pond”.

Although Dresser was born in Glasgow in 1834, his family originated from North Yorkshire. After working and travelling across the globe he opened Linthorpe Art Pottery in Middlesbrough in 1879.

Dorman Museum boasts an extensive collection of Christopher Dresser’s designs and products with hundreds of pieces displayed in its first floor gallery.

Following her visit to Middlesbrough, Ms Goodrum wrote to Dorman Museum staff, saying: “I have been studying Dr Christopher Dresser for years now and couldn’t believe how incredible your collection is.

“I saw things I have only seen in books or on a computer screen. I touched pages from books that I have read or looked at 100 times. It was an unreal experience and I am so immensely grateful to have been privileged enough to experience it.

“Thank goodness Dorman Museum exists to keep and protect these treasures. I also want to compliment the design of the Christopher Dresser gallery, it was so well thought out and executed.

“Objects were highlighted in the most creative way and I really was blown away by the space. Louise Harrison gave us a fabulous tour and really knows everything there is to know about Linthorpe! I learned so much from her and can’t wait to continue our partnership from across the pond.

“Dr. Dresser is gaining fame in design circles and I think his star will continue to rise, and we have Dorman Museum staff to thank for that.

“I will never forget how kind the staff was and how incredible the experience. I hope to be back someday and visit the gallery again, I needed five full days in there!”

During their visit Becca and fellow Dresser fan Maya Wright were treated to an English afternoon tea at the museum and also taken to Acklam Hall for a parmo and visited the Dr Christopher Dresser “shrine” at the Swatter’s Carr pub on Linthorpe Road.

Middlesbrough’s Deputy Mayor, Cllr Philippa Storey, Executive Member for Education and Culture at Middlesbrough Council, said: “We are incredibly proud of the Dr Christopher Dresser collection held at Dorman Museum and it is a significant part of Middlesbrough’s history.

“Dresser is someone whose work here in Middlesbrough has changed the world – in his case in the field of design – and it’s wonderful to have that acknowledgement on a global level.

“We are pleased that Becca enjoyed her visit to the museum and she and anyone else from anywhere in the world who shares an interest or passion for design is more than welcome to the Dresser exhibition at Dorman Museum.”