After the Covid-19 lockdown, Weston Museum is now open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and aims to increase opening hours when feasible.
Whether you’ve never visited before, haven’t visited for a while, or one of the many regular visitors to Weston Museum, there’s always a new reason to walk thought the doors.
As well as discovering hands-on history from the prehistoric age that takes you right up to 21st Century, you can immerse yourself in the art, media and the culture of our quintessentially English seaside resort.
The split-level space houses a great number of 50,000 individual objects owned by the North Somerset Council museum collection. A wheelchair-accessible lift is available to access the upper galleries where you can delve into the displays and collections at your leisure. Browse artwork by Thomas Gainsborough, see archaeology from Roman dwellings and even fossils and animal skeletons belonging to creatures that roamed Weston millions of years ago.
As well the exhibition spaces on the ground floor, you can enjoy a freshly brewed coffee or tea with a slab of cake in the beautiful courtyard at Clara's Cafe where there's often exhibitions by local artists. Fully accessible for wheelchairs, mobility aids and pushchairs, the courtyard is safe for supervised little ones to explore their curiosity, with a little play area next to the cafe.
As you arrive at Weston Museum you’re first greeted by the museum shop. It’s a compact but well-stocked retail area, bursting with unique souvenirs, books, handmade products and quirky gifts you’ll not find on the High Street; so if you’re looking to purchase a one-of-a-kind present for a loved one, you might just find it here.
Visiting Weston Museum won’t cost you a penny, it's free to enter. But your taste buds might not be able to resist the delicacies of Clara's Cafe!
Voted the number one thing to do in Weston-super-Mare on TripAdvisor, you can find reviews and feedback here.
A History of Weston Museum
Weston-super-Mare has had a Museum since 1861. The founder was William Mable, a shoemaker by trade, who came to Weston from London in 1852. Fascinated by the excavations then taking place on Worlebury, he began to put together a collection of “specimens of natural history”. His aim was “to secure a museum for the town of Weston, free to the public at all reasonable times”.
William Mable died in 1887. His broader vision of a Public Museum finally came to pass in 1901 when a purpose-built Library and Museum was built on the Boulevard - the work of celebrated local architect Hans Price. The building played this dual role until 1975 when the Museum moved into its present premises in Burlington Street and was renamed “the Woodspring Museum.
In 1985 The Museum acquired a Victorian cottage standing at the eastern end of the building. It has been furnished in the style of 1901 and adapted to house the Museum’s wonderful collection of toys. It is known as Clara’s Cottage after Clara Payne who lived there for many years.
In 1996 North Somerset Council took over from Woodspring and the Museum was renamed “The Time Machine” until 2002, when its name changed again to “The North Somerset Museum”.
Weston Town Council acquired the Burlington Street building in 2012 and wasted no time in making a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to make major improvements. The bid was successful, the Grade II listed building has undergone a major redesign, and the collection is presented in an engaging and contemporary way.
Now known as “Weston Museum” the team are once again telling the story of Weston and North Somerset to a whole new generation of residents and visitors.
William Mable would probably be surprised and not a little delighted that his vision of a Museum for the town of Weston-super-Mare is still very much alive. The new Gallery for Temporary Exhibitions is named in his memory.
His collection has been added to over the years, and the exhibits rewind the clock to allow visitors to discover how people made North Somerset their home, reaching back as far as the Iron Age and moving in chronological order right up to the 20th Century.
The family-friendly museum caters for all ages and through inspiration, learning and enjoyment you can peruse the galleries and exhibits to understand the past and ask questions about the present as well as the future.
Weston Museum is proud to be diverse and community-orientated. As well as offering a delightful environment where you’re free to enjoy a wander around our exhibitions at your own pace, the team can offer an exciting and interactive array of learning and events programmes. These are suitable for school groups, community groups of all ages and for those with complex needs.
Fancy throwing an event with a difference? You can hire Weston Museum for all manner of private functions including children’s parties, corporate functions, live music and concert spaces, even weddings. If you’re planning your big day and fancy marking your day in history surrounded by millions of years of local history, Weston Museum could be the dream venue for you.
The Museum’s permanent exhibitions are as follows: -
‘A Living Landscape’ – find out about the distant past of North Somerset
‘Tides Of Change’ – learn about Weston-super-Mare’s development from tiny fishing village to a modern and bustling seaside town
‘Beside The Sea’ – discover the evolution of our thriving seaside resort
‘The Community Gallery’ – discover local community collections
‘The Williams Mable Gallery’ – this space hosts temporary exhibitions that change regularly.
‘Clara’s Cottage’ – Visit a typical Weston home from the early 1900’s and learn how they lived in those days. Clara lived here from 1901 with her husband, Robert Payne, and their four children. This house was typical in the growing Victorian seaside resort of Weston-Super-Mare. The house stayed in Clara’s family for many decades and the museum purchased it from Clara’s grandson in 1985. But the house was built long before Clara and Robert lived here, and was completed in 1865 by a builder named William Howlett. Everything is arranged as Clara would have had it in 1901, This means that unfortunately it is not easily accessible for people with restricted mobility as there are stairs that cannot be avoided.
‘The Clevedon Torc’ - One of the prize artefacts on display at Weston Museum is The Clevedon Torc. This golden neck torc is a truly beautiful object, made by a highly-skilled goldsmith between about 150-50 BC and would have been worn by an important and powerful person.
|Weston Museum (Reopening following C-19 closure) (1 Jan 2020 - 23 Oct 2020)|
|Monday - Wednesday||Closed|
|Thursday - Saturday||12:00||- 16:00|
|Weston Museum (Half Term to Christmas 2020) (24 Oct 2020 - 31 Dec 2020)|
|Monday - Wednesday||Closed|
|Thursday - Saturday||10:00||- 16:00|
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