The museum houses 3,000 items from the important Wedgwood Collection, which was saved from being sold off and dispersed across the world thanks to an Art Fund campaign in 2014.
As a result of a £34 million redevelopment project realised in 2015, the existing museum became part of the World of the Wedgwood – a visitor experience designed to takes visitors behind the scenes of the headquarters in Barlaston. Situated on the sprawling 240-acre Wedgwood estate, at the heart of the area known as The Potteries, the World of Wedgwood also features factory tours, ceramic making, studio visits, tea rooms and a flagship store.
The museum is home to 3,000 items from the incredible collection, which are used to tell the story of Josiah Wedgwood, his family, and the company he founded over 250 years ago in 1759. It was awarded the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year in 2009.
The collection is displayed chronologically from the 1700s to today. Featured are many important items from the company's history, including the First Day's Vases, thrown by founder Josiah Wedgwood on the first day of production, his cream-coloured earthenware – later given royal approval by Queen Charlotte and renamed Queen's ware – and his experimentations for his new invention, a high-fired stoneware which he called jasper.
It contains not just ceramics, but also a huge range of documentation, manuscripts, correspondence, factory equipment and models, exploring every possible aspect of Wedgwood's fascinating past. It also features associated paintings and artwork, such as the Wedgwood family portrait by Josiah's friend, George Stubbs.
The collection was redisplayed for the reopening of the museum in July 2015, including new vista spaces highlighting many of the iconic most creations. Designs by Eric Ravillious, Jasper Conran and Vera Wang are shown alongside exuberant examples from the Victorian period and notable commissions such as the set made for American president Theodore Roosevelt.