- Children Welcome
- Educational visits accepted
- On-site Educational Officer
- Gift and souvenir shop
- Coach groups must pre-book visit
The Rochester Guildhall was built in 1687 and is one of the finest 17th-century civic buildings in Kent.
Its staircase and main hall have magnificent plaster ceilings, given in 1695 by Admiral Sir Cloudsley Shovell, who was the Member of Parliament for the city of Rochester at the time. Outside, mounted on the roof, is an amazing weather vane in the form of a fully rigged 18th-century warship. This is 1.52m tall and weighs just under 51kg. It is made of gilded copper and lead alloy and has weathered the ever-changing climate since 1780.
The museum was founded in 1897, in honour of Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee. It was first set up in Eastgate House further along the High Street and was moved into the Guildhall in 1979.
The collections follow a timeline through Medway's history and are housed in two separate buildings, along with a small gift shop. Highlights of the displays include:
• a full-size reconstruction of part of a Medway prison hulk;
• a 200,000 year-old axe that visitors can touch;
• a wide range of domestic artefacts from Darenth Roman villa;
• the most complete set of 18th-century cabinet maker's tools in the world;
• a model of Rochester Castle under siege;
• a Victorian drawing room and kitchen;
• a large selection of paintings and prints of the area;
• a full programme of temporary exhibitions;
• the Dickens Discovery Room.
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