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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. Please see our access statement
  • Free entry
  • Visit us at Rochester Highstreet 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 or read the full version of the Guildhall Museum collections feature "A treasure chest of local history" which appears in the April May 2013 edition of Medway Matters. (pdf 5,6272KB)

Summer holiday activities for families

Magnifying Glass with gold rim and wooden handleDiscovery Zone             

Open every day except Mondays between 24 July and 31 August 2014

  • 10.30am to 3.30pm
  • Visit our Discovery Zone and enjoy some simple card-based modelling activities. Design a dazzle camouflage scheme for your ship: fold an aeroplane for the Red Baron's 'Flying Circus': or make a poppy.
  • (Some Discovery Zone activities subject to change).

British War MedalTerrific Tuesdays

  • 10.30am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 3.30pm
  • 29 July, 12 August, 26 August - Design a medal like those in our WW1 exhibition and press your own exclusive pattern onto real copper sheet. Attach a ribbon to wear!
  • 5 August, 19 August - Dazzling Designs. Find out about dazzle camouflage and apply your discoveries to create new works of art to take away
  • Drop in - no need to book
  • Age: children 5-12 years and their families
  • Premium workshops - suggested donation £2 per child

DazzleThrilling Thursdays

  • 10.30am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 3.30pm
  • 31 July, 28 August - Design a machine to cross no-man's land and make a model out of household bits and pieces. Feel free to bring your own boxes or use some of our junk
  • 7 August, 14 August - Make a working model of a periscope like the one in our exhibition
  • 21 August - Edwardian Toy Day - Try out some toys and have a go at making one
  • Drop in - no need to book
  • Age: children 5-12 years and their families
  • Free entry

Researching your Military AncestorsStories from the Great War

  • 13 August and 1 November, 10am to 3.30pm
  • Experts from the Orders and Medals Research Society will identify your wartime memorabilia.
  • Talks at 11am and 2pm will tell you how to use military records to find your ancestors

Stories from The Great WarStories from the Great War

  • The exhibition looks at the impact of the First World War on the people of the Medway Towns.
  • Find out about how the lives of local people were changed during four years of war.
  • The museum has a small shop selling period reproductions, posters and other items relating to the Great War.
  • Free entry
  • The exhibition runs until 11 January 2015

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.

Quizes 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.

The Medway Conservancy Board Building of the museum is now closed between 1pm and 2pm each day.

Partners and supporters of the Guildhall Museum