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Maidstone Museum was established in 1858 and now houses over 660,000 artefacts and specimens. It is housed in a charming Elizabethan Manor House, in the centre of Maidstone - Kent's County Town. Each gallery will fascinate and surprise; with a wealth of exhibits and objects to see and enjoy as well as regular storytelling and children's holiday activities.
The Earth Heritage Gallery show the remains of some of the incredible creatures that lived and died in Kent over the last 145 million years. The world’s first articulated bird-hip dinosaur was found in 1834 in Maidstone. That dinosaur, the Maidstone Iguanodon, is incorporated in the town’s coat-of-arms. Stone tools and other evidence tell us that our ancestors were living in the Maidstone area over 400,000 years ago. Our collections of archaeological material are outstanding, ranging from beautifully fashioned flint tools and fabulous Bronze Age weapons, to exquisite Roman glass and fabulous Anglo-Saxon jewellery.
The Costume Gallery shows a chronological progression of the changing shape of women's dress from 1800 to 2000. The displays incorporate underwear, accessories, children's garments and doll's clothes from each decade; which are complimeted by paintings and photographs from the museum collections.
The Museum’s art collections are outstanding. 574 oil paintings constitute Kent's biggest publicly owned collection. Its strengths are pre-1800 minor Dutch and Italian Old Masters and a number of rare paintings by Maidstone born essayist William Hazlitt. Bronzes by Jacob Epstein and Henry Moore are included in our sculpture collection.
The Museum and Art Gallery collection of the Japanese Edo period (1600-1868) are amongst the best in the South East. They contain over 3,000 artefacts, primarily from two locally connected donations in the early 20th Century.
Entry to our Museum is Free!