Go to navigation

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 2 and 9 April 2018.
  • 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.

Easter Egg TrailEaster activities

  • Friday 30 March to Sunday 15 April.
  • Take part in our trail round the museum's collection for a chance to win a small prize.
  • 80p per child, free entry to the museum.
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Easter Craft ActivitiesPhoto of craft materials

  • Join our hands-on family craft activities based around the museum's collections.
  • Monday 2 to Friday 6 and Monday 9 to Friday 13 April.
  • 10.30am to 3.30pm. 
  • No need to book.
  • 80p per child, free entry to the museum.
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Wendy Daws at Eastgate House

The Guildhall Museum is a Learning Destination for the Kent Children's University.KCU logo

The Guildhall Museum has recently become an approved "Public Learning Destination" for Kent Children's University. This means we are authorised to issue Learning Credits in participating children's Passports to Learning.

  • 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.

  • How does Children's University work?

The Children's University (CU) is able to recognise and reward children for all the additional learning they participate in voluntarily outside normal school hours. Once registered through a school or direct through the local CU, children can earn Learning Credits in a variety of ways including participating in activities at "Public Learning Destinations". Children are provided with a Passport to Learning for them to collect Credits as evidence of their learning.KCU proud members

Once children achieve a fixed number of Learning Credits, they will have the opportunity to have their successes celebrated at a very special Graduation Ceremony at either Canterbury Christ Church University, The university of Greenwich (Medway Campus) or the University of Kent.

If you would like more information about Kent Children's University, please visit www.kentchildrensuniversity.co.uk

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