About the Museum

New Lanark World Heritage Site is a former cotton-spinning village. Founded in 1785 by David Dale, it became famous under the enlightened management of Robert Owen, a reformer who believed that every man, woman and child had a right to good living and working conditions as well as a right to education and recreation. At its peak, under Owen, New Lanark was home to around 2500 inhabitants. This number had dwindled to around 350 by the time the mills closed in 1968.

Following the closure of the mills, New Lanark fell into decline and complete demolition of the site was at one point considered. However, in 1974, New Lanark Trust was founded with the aim of restoring and revitalising the village as a living and working community. New Lanark was inscribed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001 for its Outstanding Universal Value.

Today, the site includes the award-winning New Lanark Visitor Attraction, which tells the story of the site and the people who lived and worked there; the New Lanark Mill Shop, which sells New Lanark Woollen Yarn and textiles, produced on-site using historic spinning machinery; the New Lanark Mill Hotel and Hostel and housing for a resident population of around 120 people, making it truly a living and working village. All of the profits made through the visitor attraction, shop and hotel are reinvested in the upkeep of the site.

New Lanark Trust holds a diverse collection of artefacts, archival material and photographs relating to the history of New Lanark and the people who lived and worked here. These include textile machinery, personal artefacts, business documents and architectural drawings.