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5 Best Leather Museums

The use of leather has a long history which dates back to prehistoric men. To me, it mostly sounds fictional learning about a two thousand years old strip of leather. Having the opportunity travel to see some authentic leather museums is certainly on my bucket list since I love working and learning about leather. So I researched five of the best leather museums I know you will also absolutely love to travel to.

  1. Walsall Leather Museum
  2. German Leather Museum
  3. Leather Archives and Museum
  4. Igualada Leather Museum
  5. The National Leather Collection

I present these amazing places in no particular order.

5. Walsall Leather Museum 

The Walsall leather museum is the kind of museum anyone can enjoy. The museum is filled with Walsall’s rich history in leather and saddle industry spanning over 200 years. This lovely museum is located in Walsall, in the West Midlands in England, and was opened in 1988, in a Victorian factory building renovated by the Walsall Council.

It portrays a splendid tale of leather trade activities in Walsall. It tells the glorious rise of Walsall as a small market town into a world-renowned saddle-making center.

At the peak of the saddle making industry in 1900, about 10,000 local people in Walsall were employed. Funny fact is, the leather trade was so popular each family had at least one person in the leather trade. They produced saddles, horse bridles, and other leather items.

As of 2012, the Walsall leather museum had seen an increase in yearly visits from 33,000 people to 40,000 visits a year.

Walsall Leather Museum Exhibitions

The museum is really well organized and takes you on a great learning journey through time.

What to expect at the Walsall Leather Museum

On a typical exhibition day, you would enjoy experienced craftsmen and women demonstrating authentic leather crafts peculiar to Walsall in the museum’s workshops for you to have the first-hand experience on how leather was worked. Interesting!

The museum has a contemporary section the showcases the dexterity of leatherwork designers today. Walsall-made leathergoods, like saddles, gloves, fashion accessories, bags, shoes, and leather are exhibited.

The museum also has a research library on specialist works on the subject of the leathercraft and industry. Books by MacGregor and Michael on some details on leathercrafting and hand stitching and their works are displayed.

You will also find a superb display of some contemporary and vintage selection of leatherwork tools material like the slicker, hooks, fleshing knives, different kinds of leather, recipe books on how to treat and dye leather, skiving tools, etc.

The detailed quality of their workmanship is amazing and will present any contemporary leather artist with huge inspiration to incorporate in their leatherwork projects today.

Walsall leather museum hosts a series of leather exhibitions as well as adults and children workshops.

If you happen to be in Walsall or anywhere near, its a must-go-to place to learn and explore.

What is the Admission fee for Walsall Leather Museum?

Admission is free!

What is the Working Hours for Walsall Leather Museum?

It is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am – 5 pm. For inquiries call +441922652288

Location of Walsall Leather Museum

The Walsall leather museum is located at Littleton St W, Walsall WS2 8EW, UK and you can find your way using the map below:

4. German Leather Museum

The German leather Museum was founded in the year 1917 by Hugo Eberhardt in a well-known leather city Offenbach. It was originally set up to collect historic samples to inspire the training of young leather designers and craftsmen. The German Leather Museum presents the manufacturing, ornamentation, and utilization of leather.

What to expect at the German Leather Museum

Presently at the German leather Museum, there is a collection of Applied Art and masterpieces of European leather design from the Middle Ages to the present. Exciting!.

There is also a specialized collection in its shoe Museum with over 15,000 exhibits. It is a representation of the sum of all the footwear of people from more than four millennia.

What is the Admission fee for the German Leather Museum?

Admission is free every first Saturday of the month.

On other days, Entrance fee includes:

  • Adults: € 8
  • Students 16 years and above or with serious handicap: € 5
  • Children 3 years to 15 years: € 3

For details on the entrance fee to the German leather, the museum click over to their webpage.

What is the Working Hours for the German Leather Museum?

Hours of operation are between 10:00 am to 17:00 pm Tuesday to Sunday

Location of Walsall Leather Museum

You can locate the German leather museum using the map below. Enjoy your stay.

3. Leather Archives and Museum

The leather archives and museum galleries set out to present educational and historical material that sheds light on the marginalized less represented communities and silent histories. It was founded in 1991 by Chuck Renslow and Tony DeBlase and has since become a world phenomenon renowned and revered for the compilation, preservation and maintaining of materials on leather and other items both in physical artifact and electronic records.

What to expect at the Leather Archives and Museum

The Leather Archives and Museum is located on Greenview Avenue in Chicago near the beautiful campus of Loyola University.

The German leather Museum building houses the Teri Rose Library with holdings of over 3,000 books and 12,600 journals and periodicals.

It also has a 1425 sq. ft. archival storage units, and eight amazing exhibit galleries.

The Leather Archives and museum present a well organized self-guided tour that will take you through their eight exhibit galleries. You will find exciting information on the fetish or leather subculture.

You can also make a brief stop with Randy in the Leather Bar.

You will see a special exhibit a leather woman in a model room of her own.

You can then have a seat and watch a short film in the Leather SINS Screening Room

You can complete your museum visit with a pitstop at their Guest Artist Gallery.

What is the Admission fee for the Leather Archives and museum?

The Leather Archives and Museum is opened to patrons 18 years and above. The entrance is free of charge for its members and also free on CLAW free Day (Thursday 11 am – 7 pm) for the general public.

On other days:

  • Admission is $10.00 for Adults
  • Admission for Students, Seniors & Military personnel is $5.00 (ID card required)

What is the Working Hours for the Leather Archives and museum?

Hours of operation are between 11:00 am to 17:00 pm Wednesday to Sunday

Leather Archives and museum are closed on the following days in 2019:

  • Thursday, July 4
  • Thursday, November 28th
  • Wednesday, December 25th

Access to archival collections is by appointment.

Purchasing tickets online:
You can purchase your museum admission tickets online prior to your visit and save $2 off of the regular $10 admission price. Click here to visit their online store

2. Igualada Leather Museum

Our last feature for this article is Igualada Leather Museum at the Cal Boyer cotton factory.

The Igualada Leather Museum (Catalan: Museu de la Pell d’Igualada) is the first leather museum in Spain, located in Igualada, Catalonia and the third leather museum in Europe. It was established in 1954. The collections are displayed in annex buildings in Igualada: the “Cal Boyer” building and the “Cal Granotes” building, an 18th-century tannery.

Leather Museum, at “Cal Boyer”

The “Cal Boyer” building is the headquarters of the museum. Due to its being a pioneer encapsulating unique characteristics in structure has made it earn its accolade as one of the top three in Europe of its kind.

What to expect at the Leather Museum, at “Cal Boyer”

It comprises three exhibition areas:

The “Leather in History”

The first area presents:

  • A walk down memory lane is presented showing parts of leather production.
  • The uses and cultural significance of leather in the Mediterranean civilization
  • Prehistoric art
  • Parchments
  • Bookbinding
  • Tanning of animal hides and skins
  • The use of leather in ancient Greece and ancient Roman
  • Shell cordovan use etc.
“A World of Leather”

The second area, “A world of leather” presents activities such as a corresponding video which presents five interactive modules illustrating some of the properties of the leather:

  • Touch
  • Sound
  • Durability
  • Impermeability and
  • The drill

The second area also has activities that pertain to:

  • Travel and nomads
  • Sport
  • Leather sounds and music
  • War
  • Sights and scene Images and
  • Tactile temptations
“Industrialization”

Last but not least, the third area is astonishing with technical developments in the manufacturing of leather. The third area is made up of three stages:

  • Tanning in Igualada in 1890, which is the successor of the “Cal Granotes” craft tanning method
  • The first generation of machines
  • The industrial phase of leather

1. The National Leather Collection

The Museum of Leather Craft is the result of John Waterer’s good work. Now based in the heart of the UK’s leather and footwear industry, Northampton, the National Leather Collection was founded as the Museum of Leather Craft in London 1946.

The Museum of Leather Craft was set up by Leather Industry and Livery company representatives to be the national repository for items and information on the topic of leather. The National leather collection is one of the world resources for anything leather with a collection of over 5000 unique items and a library of over 3000 volumes on the subject of leather. This magnificent museum actively collects new items and is in the process of developing an oral archive unit.

What to expect at The National Leather Collection

The article presents a sneak peach of what you will see when you visit the national leather collection in the video below.

What is the Admission fee for The National Leather Collection?

Admission is free.

The national leather collection museum is unfortunately temporarily close to being reopened soon. For any information on opening dates and all other inquiries contact info@nationalleathercollection.org.

Location of the National leather collection museum

Macwilliam K. Appianing

Hi! I’m Macwilliam, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leatherwork enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day!

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