Rochester Guildhall Museum
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
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Get involved in your local history! Volunteer with Medway Heritage
Medway Council’s Heritage Service cares for some of Medway’s most iconic historic sites and its archive. We are currently looking for volunteers to help us deliver exciting activities at these exceptional venues.
No previous experience is necessary. Full training for all opportunities will be given. For further information contact [email protected]
Kent Children's University
Rochester's Guildhall Museum is a Learning Destination for the Kent Children’s University
The Guildhall Museum has recently become an approved “Public Learning Destination” for Kent Children’s University™. This means that we are authorised to issue Learning Credits in participating children’s Passports to Learning. Learning activities include our trails, seasonal trails, and craft activities.
What is Kent Children’s University™?
Kent Children’s University™ (KCU) is part of an international charity that provides 5 to 14 year olds with access to exciting and innovative CU Learning Activities and experiences outside the normal school day. They reward children’s participation in voluntary learning activities that will develop their skills and raise aspirations for the future.
Like Kent Children’s University™ on Facebook (www.facebook.com/KentChildrensUniversity) or Follow them on Twitter (@K_C_U)
Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm.
Christmas opening times:
24 December - 10am-4pm
25-27 December - closed
31 December - 10am-4pm
1 January - closed
Conference / Meeting facilities
Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs and Registered Assistance Dogs welcome