Guildhall Museum Interactive Guide

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Welcome to the Guildhall MuseumInteresting things to see Our Historic Museum Buildings Education Service The Collections

Area For Slide Show/ Movie

How to Contact us Services Offered by the Museum Other Heritage Sites Forthcoming Events

Please select by touching a button aboveThe museum is owned and funded by Medway Council. Admission to the museum is free of charge. Donations boxes are located in both buildings if you would like to make a financial contribution toward the work of the museum. The museums varied collections are displayed in two fine listed buildings the Guildhall (1687) and the former Medway Conservancy Board building (1909). If you need any additional information about the museum, its buildings and exhibits, please do not hesitate to contact one of our uniformed duty attendant staff who will be happy to assist you.

Interesting things to seeInteresting things to see The museum collections span 200,000 years of Medway history and focus on the history and development of Rochester. Themed temporary exhibitions are staged on a regular basis. If you only have limited time, we suggest that you view the following: The Guildhall The Dickens Discovery Chamber Room The Hulks Experience The Seaton Tool Chest The Museum Shop The Riverside eye A Victorian Drawing

It is recommended that you set aside at least one hour for your visit.

The Guildhall Chamber The 17th century Guildhall Chamber with wonderful painted plaster ceiling and chandeliers. This room has been used at various times as a Council Chamber, Assembly Room and Court. First Floor.

The Hulks ExperienceThe Hulks Experience. A dramatic walk-through partreconstruction of an early 19th century Medway prison hulk on three deck levels. Discover the terrible conditions experienced by Napoleonic prisoners-of-war and civilian convicts. Entrance on First Floor.

Seaton Tool ChestThe Seaton Tool Chest (displayed in the River Medway gallery). The most complete example of an 18thcentury carpenters tool chest in the world. This tool chest which belonged to Benjamin Seaton of Chatham is internationally famous. First Floor.

Temporary ExhibitionsCurrent Exhibitions

Previous Exhibitions

Current ExhibitionsTemporary exhibition: Our Medway 2012 The museum will be hosting a new temporary exhibition July October 2009 entitled Our Medway 2012. This exhibition will showcase creative and innovative work produced by local school pupils who are actively engaging in a groundbreaking new project encouraging young people to explore life and living in Medway in the countdown to the 2012 London Olympics. Previous sports Exhibits 2008-09

Previous Exhibitions

Silver 2005-6 Romans 2002-3

Fifties 2004-5

Food & Drink 2003-4

Collections 2006-7

The Dickens Discovery RoomThe Conservancy Board Building The Dickens Discovery Room (including personal objects owned by 19th century author Charles Dickens). Ground Floor. Our Audio Visual Theatre screening a fascinating and educational 10 minute film about Charles Dickens links with the Medway Towns. Ground Floor.

The Museum shop The museum shop stocking a range of souvenirs. Opening times vary. Ground Floor.

Rochester Riverside Eye The Rochester Riverside Eye. A self-operated camera system giving live views of Rochesters cultural quarter and regeneration works at Rochester Riverside. This is a brilliant interactive suitable for all ages. First Floor.

A Victorian Drawing Room

Our Historic Museum BuildingsThe Guildhall

The Conservancy Building

The GuildhallOur historic museum buildings The Guildhall The Guildhall (1687) was originally the meeting place for Rochesters Town Council and trade guilds. The building is still used as a meeting place by the ancient Rochester Oyster and Floating Fishery. Rochesters Admiralty Court is held at the Guildhall once a year. The magnificent Court Hall or Guildhall Chamber on the first floor of the building was immortalised by Charles Dickens in his novel Great Expectations. This room is reputedly the finest 17th century civic interior in Kent. The chamber has, in the past, been used as a Guildhall, Assembly Room, town hall, court, and council chamber. The Guildhall Chamber is decorated with impressive oil paintings, a superb ornate plaster ceiling paid for by former

The Conservancy Building The Conservancy Board Building was built in 1909 to provide a headquarters for the committee that supervised trade, shipping, fishing and recreational use of the nearby River Medway. The lookout tower on top of the building gave Conservancy Board members excellent views of the river. The building still retains many original features and has been refurbished in the style of a late Victorian/Edwardian house interior.

Education ServiceSchools School Outreach Families Adult Learning

SchoolsThe museums schools service is based on the close study of historic objects, with children allowed to handle artefacts as much as possible. Sessions are led by the education officer in a separate teaching room, and are designed to encourage pupils to devise their own questions using the evidence provided by the museums collections. The service is popular with a wide range of ages, from Foundation Stage upwards, and is also well used by Special Schools. Sessions are generally themed according to the National Curriculum, and although many are taught with History in mind, many others deal with Science and Literacy. Children come to the museum to study the Roman invasion, or Victorian Britain; but they also enjoy finding out about different Materials, or about the stories of Charles Dickens. The museum-based schools service is free to all groups who book in advance (on 01634 848717).

Schools outreachMedway schools are also able to take advantage of an outreach service that brings objects into the classroom. Most themed sessions can by brought into school and the education officer can lead a number of sessions in a school day. There is a charge for this service. Medway schools should call 01634 848717 to find out more and to book.

FamiliesFree quizzes are always available in the museum to help adults and children enjoy their visit together. The museum runs occasional Family Learning Days and a number of activities during the summer holiday.

Adult LearningAny group that wishes to add something special to a museum visit can arrange object-based talks during opening hours. The education officer also visits many social, church, community and other groups at venues around Medway. For more information, please call 01634 848717.

The CollectionsThe Collections The museum galleries are packed with thousands of objects that trace the origins and development of Rochester and Medway. Not all of the collections held by the museum on behalf of the people of Medway are on permanent display. Other collections are used for research, education work, and to populate temporary exhibitions. Access to collections not on permanent display can be arranged by prior appointment (Tel: 01634 848717) Scope of the Collections Museum collections are representative of the following broad subject areas: Geology Natural History Archaeology Ethnography Social and Local History Art Decorative Arts Costume Military History Numismatics Local Maritime History (excluding naval history) Further details of the museum collections can be found on-line at

How to Contact usHow to contact us If you have an enquiry, there are a number of ways of contacting the museum staff. In person Talk to one of the duty attendant staff. Appointments can also be made in advance to meet with curatorial staff. By completing an enquiry/comments form Complete one of the museums enquiry/comment forms available on request from the uniformed duty attendant staff. Your written enquiry will be answered quickly. Please provide full contact details when completing the form. In writing Guildhall Museum High Street Rochester Kent ME1 1PY By telephone 01634 848717 (there is an answer phone facility out-of-hours). By Email Website Information Museum pages at By Fax 01634 832919

Services Offered By The MuseumEducation Services Object Identification Service Room Hire Weddings Events & Activities

Education ServicesServices offered by the museum Education Services The museum offers a wide range of learning opportunities. Details of the range of services offered can be found on the Education page on this touch screen please return to the main Home page.

Object Identification Services offered by theServices museum

Object Identification Service Curatorial staff are able to offer a free object identification service. If you have an object that you would like identified please make an appointment with one of our curatorial staff (Telephone 01634 848717). The museum is not able to provide valuations.

Room HireServices offered by the museum Room Hire The Guildhall Chamber and adjacent Members Room are available for hire for meetings, talks and seminars. Please contact the museum office on 01634 848717 for details of the current hourly hire rates and terms and conditions of hire.

Services offered by the museum Weddings The ornate Guildhall Chamber is a popular local venue for civil marriages and other formal ceremonies. The Chamber accommodates a maximum of 70 guests (seated). We regret that the museum is not able to host wedding receptions, but there are a number of venues close to the museum that undertake wedding reception catering. Please contact the Museum Services Officer on 01634 848717 for details of the current hire fees and terms and conditions of hire.


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