history museums in Kent
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Kent Museums & Galleries

including civic and independent art galleries and museums in Kent...

Museums long ago ceased to be stuffy rooms full of glass cases containing bits of old pottery and fossilised bones. Today even most conventional museums include changing displays but over recent years there has been a growth in industrial and "living" museums. Here you can learn about local heritage, get a feel for how people lived and worked, the hardships they endured...

Galleries listed include not just civic galleries displaying publicly owned artworks, but also privately owned galleries with items for sale.

Kent Museums and Galleries

High Street, Shoreham, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN14 7TB
Exhibition of aviation relics and homefront memorabilia from the Battle of Britain and the air war over southern England.

Aviation paintings and prints for sale.

Teas and home made cakes served in the Old Bakery or cottage garden.
Tel: 01959 524416
E-mail: geoff@aviartnutkins.co.uk
See our website

blank tabDOVER MUSEUMMuseums & Galleries
Market Square, Dover, Kent, CT16 1PH
Dover Museum is one of the districts largest museums and has a fine collection of genuine artefacts and models. Covering the history of Dover from the ancient Celts, through the Roman Invasion, up to and beyond World War II.

There is a collection of scale models in painstaking detail showing the development of the town over the last 2000 years. You can also see the Bronze Age Boat gallery, featuring the world's oldest seagoing boat in remarkably good condition. See our dedicated website for opening times, group discounts and admission costs.

Pay once and apply for an annual membership card which allows free admission to the museum for a year.
Tel: 01304 201066    Fax: 01304 241186
E-mail: museumenquiries@dover.gov.uk
Book online or find more info - DOVER MUSEUM

The Airfield, Manston Road, Ramsgate, Kent, CT12 5DF

Genuine WW II Spitfire and Hurricane aircraft and a large collection of WW II memorabilia on display. Free admission. Free coach and car parking. Cafeteria and gift shop. Disabled facilities. Open: All year, British Summertime 10am-5pm, Winter 10am-4pm. Closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, 27th Dec & New Years Day.
Tel: 01843 821940    Fax: 01843 821940
E-mail: spitfire752@btconnect.com
See our website

Quex Park, Park Lane, Birchington, Kent, CT7 0BH
A museum and Regency-period country house with beautiful Victorian gardens.

The world class collections include African natural history and ethnography, weaponry, archaeology, ceramics, furniture and much much more.

Group bookings welcome.

Family activities, tearoom and gift shop.
Tel: 01843 842168    Fax: 01843 846661
E-mail: enquiries@quexmuseum.org
See our website

tabST. AUGUSTINES ABBEYMuseums & Galleries
Longport, Canterbury, Kent, CT1 1TF

Founded in 598AD by St Augustine, this Abbey is at the very roots of Christianity in England and has been a monastic site for almost a thousand years. The admission price includes an interactive audio tour of the ruins, available in several languages. An excellent museum and information centre with fascinating exhibits discovered during the excavations of the site and computer graphics display, along with a well stocked shop.
Tel: 01227 767345    Fax: 01227 767345
E-mail: paul.gale@english-heritage.org.uk
See our website

St. Faith Street, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 1LH

Housed in the Elizabethan Chillington Manor, this exceptionally fine regional museum boasts specialist galleries which include costume, local history and natural history including dinosaurs and fossils. Also on display, Japanese, medieval, English and European 19th century art and artefacts, Roman and Anglo Saxon finds, ethnography, ceramics and Victoriana.
Tel: 01622 602838
E-mail: museuminfo@maidstone.gov.uk
See our website

tabASHFORD BOROUGH MUSEUMMuseums & Galleries
The Old Grammar School, The Churchyard, Ashford, Kent, TN23 1QG

Located in Ashford's first grammar school built in the 17th century, only exhibits of local interest are displayed. Special exhibition are always being held. 2008 is dedicated to Gherkers in the Community and Business Old and New. Situated: Next door to Ashford Tourist Information Centre and opposite Ashford's Norman parish church. Free admission. Please phone for more information.
Tel: 01233 631511
E-mail: tourism@ashford.gov.uk

Aerodrome Road, Hawkinge, Folkestone, Kent, CT18 7AG
The museum houses the largest collection of Battle of Britain artefacts and memorabilia in the country.

Exhibits include 14 full-size replica aircraft of which 7 were used in the 1968 film 'The Battle of Britain'.

a comprehensive collection of airborne and ground-based weaponry and the country's most complete collection of 1940 uniforms, flying kit and insignia as worn by both sides of the conflict. Signposted on A260 at Hawkinge, between Folkestone and Canterbury.

Liberty Gallery Contemporary Fine & Applied Arts

7 Queen Street, Liberty Square, Kings Hill, ME19 4DA
Tel: 07881 830709     E-mail: info@liberty-gallery.com

Spacious gallery offering fine art, sculpture, jewellery, textiles, ceramics, mosaics - ideal for original gifts. Architectural award-winning location close to historic West Malling town and renowned Aylesford Friary Free parking. Very warm welcome offered.

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Museum of Kent Life

Lock Lane, Sandling, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 3AU
Tel: 01622 763936

Kent's open air museum. Historic buildings house exhibitions on life in Kent over the past 100 years, including Oast House, Hoppers Huts and thatched barn. There are also herb, hop and market gardens to be enjoyed. Farmyard and Venture Playground provide lots to see and do indoors and out for all ages. Picnic areas, tearoom and shop. Special event weekends throughout the year.

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Quebec House

Quebec Square, Westerham, TN16 1TD
Tel: 01732 868381 (Chartwell office)     E-mail: quebechouse@nationaltrust.org.uk

Childhood home of General James Wolfe. James Wolfe spent his early years in this gabled red-brick village house of 16th-century origin, extended in the 17th century. The low-ceilinged, panelled rooms contain memorabilia relating to his family and career and the Tudor stable block houses an exhibition about the Battle of Quebec (1759) when General Wolfe led the British forces to victory over the French. Refreshment facilities available in the coach house - new exhibition from 2011.

Discount National Trust Membership

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Kent Masonic Library & Museum

St. Peters Place, Canterbury, Kent, CT1 2DA
Tel: 01227 785625

This ancient city is home to a particularly unusual museum - The Kent Masonic Library and Museum - where the history of freemasonry, from its begins in the county through to the present day are explored. With special emphasis on East and West Kent, the museum has numerous exhibits that include some fine paintings, glassware and porcelain and the Cornwallis collection of documents and presentation items. There is also a vast collection of books covering all aspects of freemasonry and, of course, a display of Masonic regalia. The museum has limited opening times during the week and guided tours with the curator can be arranged.

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Eden Valley Museum

Church House, 72 High Street, Edenbridge, Kent, TN8 5AR
Tel: 01732 868102

Open April to October: Tues & Wed 2pm - 4.30pm, Thurs & Sat 10am - 4.30pm and Summer Sundays 2pm - 4.30pm.  Admission: FREE. Housed in a restored Grade II listed 14th century farmhouse, visitors can learn about the history of the Eden Valley, including tanning and cricket ball making. Also about famous local people, such as playwright John Osborne and reformer Octavia Hill. A good mixture of objects, photographs, paintings and touch-screen computers tell the human story of Edenbridge and the surrounding villages. 

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Elham Valley Railway Museum

Peene Yard, Peene, Folkestone, Kent, CT18 8BA
Tel: 01303 273690

The museum depicts the history of the Elham Valley Railway Line which closed in 1947 and is built in the style of a South Eastern Clapperboard station. Visitors can see advertisements from the 30’s, old level crossing gates and the original and restored 1924 roader shed from Lyminge station. One of the highlights is the signal box, the other is the Eurotunnel Exhibition railway. Located off the A20, just off J12 of the M20.

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Tunbridge Wells Museum & Art Gallery

Mount Pleasant, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN1 1JN
Tel: 01892 554171

From Tunbridge ware to Victorian oil paintings and archaeology, Minnie the LuLu terrier to historic fashions and dolls, there are displays to fascinate everyone. The Gallery also has year round frequently changing exhibitions of art and craft.

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Sheerness Heritage Centre

10 Rose Street, Sheerness, Kent, ME12 1AJ
Tel: 01795 663317

The Sheerness Heritage Centre is housed in a weather boarded cottage that was built in the early 19th century as a dwelling for a dockyard worker. Despite being constructed of seemingly temporary building materials the house, as with its two neighbours, has lasted well and, over the years, it has also been a baker's shop and a fish and chip shop. Now cared for, the rooms here have been restored and they now reflect authentic 19th century rooms and are furnished with genuine pieces from that period. The Royal Dockyard here closed in the 1960s - it has now become a flourishing port - and, in the heritage centre, there is also an exhibition describing the development of the dockyard along with a display of tools used by its workers.

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Margate Old Town Hall Museum

Old Town Hall, Market Place, Margate, Kent, CT9 1ER
Tel: 01843 231213

Housed in a late 17thC town hall with later additions, Old Town Hall Local History Museum has displays on Margate's history during the 18th and 19thC with original paintings, prints, photographs and other items. The court room and old Victorian police station can also be seen.

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Woodchurch The Village Life Museum

Susans Hill, Woodchurch, Ashford, Kent, TN26 3RE
Tel: 01233 860240

Lively new museum housed in 17th and 18th century farm buildings. Its wholly local collection tells the story of Woodchurch from the Stone Age to today. Sound points relate oral history and there is a local history study centre.

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Minster Abbey Gatehouse Museum

Union Road, Minster On Sea, Sheerness, Kent, ME12 2HW
Tel: 01795 872303

Depicts Sheppey's fascinating history with a wide range of exhibits including fossils, costumes, paintings and photographs, all set within the unique gatehouse building. Superb views can be experienced from the battlements that are 200 feet above sea level and a visit can easily be combined with a walk along Minster's attractive promenade.

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Finchcocks Musical Museum

Goudhurst, Cranbrook, Kent, TN17 1HH
Tel: 01580 211702    E-mail: email@finchcocks.co.uk

Famous collection of historical keyboard instruments housed in a fine Georgian manor with beautiful garden. Entertaining demonstration recitals for all visitors. September Festival. Fairs - May & October. Licensed for civil marriages, available for receptions and weddings.

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