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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.

  • Open 10am to 5pm Tuesdays to Sundays. Special opening Monday 13 February
  • View our access statement or download a copy (pdf 249KB)
  • Free entry
  • Visit us at Rochester High street or for more information phone 01634 332900 or email guildhall.museum@medway.gov.uk
  • Check out the video above for a virtual tour of the museum.

Half Term Activities at the Guildhall Museum

Explore our Weird and Wonderful exhibition by taking part in our exciting activities:

  • The Weird and Wonderful World of Museums - Heritage Trail
  • Saturday 11 February to Sunday 19 February, 10am to 5pm

Take part in our heritage trail and learn more about the weird and wonderful things you may find in a museum, from the unusual to the plain unexpected, for a chance to win a small prize. 80p per child.

  • Make Your Own Cabinet of Curiosities Creature
  • Monday 13, Tuesday 14, Thursday 16 and Friday 17 February 10.30am to 3.30pm

Join our hands-on family craft activity based around our Weird and Wonderful exhibition. Free entry, no need to book.

  • Artist-led Session - Family Activity
  • Wednesday 15 February, 10.30am to 3.30pm

Join artist Wendy Daws for a drop-in session; crafts will be based around the Weird and Wonderful and the Value of Touch exhibition. No need to book. £3 per child. 

All activities aimed at children 5 to 12 years and their families. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Weird and WonderfulWeird and Wonderful

An exhibition celebrating some of the more quirky items in the Museum's collections.

  • From giant eggs, sawfish snouts, a rare Indian crocodile skull to glow-in-the-dark minerals
  • Also featuring The Value of Touch
  • An extraordinary art exhibition created by blind and partially-sighted members of the Kent Association for the Blind Medway Art Group and a series of new touchable artworks by Wendy Daws.
  • Exhibition closes 16 April 2017
  • Open times 10am to 5pm, Tuesday to Sunday
  • Free entry

Friends of the Guildhall MuseumsFriends of the Guildhall Museums

Friends of the Guildhall Museums, supporting the work of the Guildhall Museum in Rochester and the Old Brook Pumping station in Chatham.

Members enjoy:

  • Invitations to exhibitions previews and launch events
  • Access to specially organised events, workshops and excursions
  • A free welcome tour
  • Regular e-bulletins keeping you up-to-date with our new activities

Download a membership form (pdf 272KB), pop it in the post or hand to a member of staff at the Guildhall Museum.

Quizzes and leaflets

The museum

Photo of the Guildhall Museum in Rochester

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 wide-ranging collections are housed in two separate buildings, the Guildhall (1687) and the River Medway Conservancy Board Building (1909).

The museum's wheelchair-accessible entrance gallery contains a small shop selling souvenirs items, a reception desk, and an attractive introductory exhibition highlighting the role that River Medway has played in shaping the environmental and human history of Medway. Text accompanying this exhibition is reproduced in English, French and Dutch.

All visitors (including those with mobility difficulties, and wheelchair users) can access electronic media in the gallery which enables them to view short films highlighting key features of the museum displays.

Highlights of the displays include:

  • a full-size reconstruction of part of a Medway prison hulk
  • archaeological objects that visitors can touch
  • civic silver and regalia from Medway's past
  • the most complete set of 18th-century cabinet maker's tools in the world
  • a Victorian drawing room and kitchen
  • a large selection of paintings and prints of the area
  • the Dickens Discovery Room
  • the Rochester "Riverside Eye" camera interactive.

Free quizzes for children and families are always available. Borrow a clipboard and pencil and follow a themed trail around the museum.

 

Partners and supporters of the Guildhall Museum