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Hastings & St.Leonards Museum Association

Hastings & St Leonards Museum Association

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Hastings Museum & Art Gallery

Hastings Museum & Art Gallery contains a rich and exotic mixture of fine paintings and china, the cultures of other lands and a contrasting view of local wildlife today and as it would have been 150 million years ago.
Special features for children with fossils that transform into dinosaurs, a diorama of local animals, two Native American Galleries complete with tepee and buffalo and a display on the Hastings-born conservationist, Grey Owl.
Television pioneer, John Logie Baird, made his technical breakthrough in Hastings and this is the subject of a display on television history.
Robert Tressell wrote ‘The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists’ in Hastings and there is an exhibition in his memory.
The Museum's magnificent Durbar Hall, constructed for the Indian and Colonial Exhibition of 1886, which contains the Museum's fascinating collections of Asian and Australasian material.
The Hall is now used for wedding ceremonies and offers a truly exotic location with its carved paneling coloured glass, dramatic staircase, balcony and arched seating.
The Local Studies Research Room provides access to the Borough's archives and is proving very popular with many researchers and there is a 'drop-in' facility, every Wednesday: 10am - 4pm.

History of the Museum Association

Believed to be the first such Society in the country, the Hastings & St Leonards Museum Association was founded in 1889. Three years later, in 1892, they opened the town's first Museum on the second floor of the Brassey Institute in Claremont. With its collections growing and its increasing popularity, 'it had to move down to the first floor, where there was space to hold temporary exhibitions. In 1904 the Museum Association decided to offer the whole Museum and its collections to the town for educational purposes generally and for the advancement and cultivation of science and the fine arts.
This offer was accepted and on 1st March 1905 the Mayor and corporation walked from the Town Hall to the Museum through large crowds to the music of the Police Band.
It was a civic occasion, attended by many distinguished visitors from the University of London, the British Museum, the Board of Education and other worthies.
In accepting the gift, the Mayor said the town would never be satisfied that the Museum should remain stationary, but would endeavour to make it one of the chief attractions of the Borough.

Chief Iron Tail's War Bonnet

Chief Iron Tail's War Bonnet

In 1928 the Borough purchased Johns Place, built in 1923 in the style of a Tudor mansion, and the Museum and its collections moved in. The Association retained an interest in the organization and control of the Museum and, in accordance with the Deed of Transfer.

Our aims...

To collect funds and specimens; to contribute towards the expenses of temporary exhibitions, lecturers and generally assist in the development of the Museum.

To nominate from amongst its members, in accordance with the Deed of Transfer of the Museum to the Hastings Corporation, to the Museums Sub- Committee of the Hastings Borough Council.

The Association is committed to the principle of free admittance to our Borough Museums.

We offer...

A varied programme of lectures.
Visits to other collections, Museums and Art Galleries.
Invitations to all exhibition openings.
Expert-led local history walks and field trips.

We need a strong and numerous membership to continue the work of the Association's founders, to:-

assist in the ongoing development of our Museum for educational purposes;
promote science and the fine arts;
reach out to all the people of Hastings and its environs

Hastings Museum
Hastings & St Leonards Museum & Art Gallery
Hastings & St Leonards Museum & Art Gallery
Hastings & St Leonards Museum & Art Gallery
Hastings & St Leonards Museum & Art Gallery



New Developments, Museum & Art Gallery, Bohemia Road

With the support of the Heritage lottery Fund and other beneficiaries, extension work commenced during 2004 and was completed in July 2007. This provides greater disabled access, additional gallery space, a new café and improved shop area.

Here are just a few examples of the new facilities.

All areas of the museum are accessible via lifts and ramps.
New 20th Century galleries.
New exhibitions in all the galleries.
New exhibition featuring the Brassey family in the lobby leading to the Durbar Hall.
Extended shelves in the Local Studies Room.

You can download a memberhip form here (pdf) or here (word) or here (plain text)



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