The Guildhall Museum

The Guildhall Museum is one museum that has been bursting with character and charm since its launch. Both the exterior and interior of this museum are breath-taking and the building is definitely a work of art. It is situated in the heart of Rochester and always open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is also runs from Tuesdays to Saturdays and never open on Mondays.

History of the Museum

The museum’s initial purpose was to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897, and had been originally been set up at Eastgate House, further south along High Street. This happened to be the first guildhall. The second one was completed in 1697. Its construction involved some donation from Sir Stafford Fairbone who made an amazing financial contribution so as to see the project through. The interior contained a council chamber that was used for meetings and its magnificent design led to it being featured in the novel Great Expectations, written by Charles Dickens.

For much of the 20th century, this chamber served as the meeting place of the City of Rochester before ceasing its operations in 1974. The guildhall was turned to a museum in 1979 and is now known as The Guildhall Museum.

Major attractions

  • Full size reconstruction of Medway prison hulk
  • Archaeological objects

Objects dating thousands of years back, including a 200,000 year axe that visitors are allowed to touch.

  • Civic silver

Civic silver and regalia from Medway’s past is found here.

  • 18th century cabinet maker’s tools

It is the world’s most complete set of tools of an ancient cabinet maker that is intriguing to look at, in this recent times where the technology is now a hundred times different and better.

  • Paintings

The museum boasts a collection of paintings and prints from the area, including one done by Hendrik Frans van Lint , and another done by Godfrey Kneller who happened to be some of the best painters at those times.

Activities

School trips

  • High quality on-site educational sessions
  • Bespoke sessions for pupils’ specific learning objectives
  • Tailored Continued Professional Development (CDC) event for group of teachers
  • Outreach services which take objects into Medway schools and offers themed teaching in the classroom.

Wedding ceremonies

The Guildhall has created a nice captivating site for wedding ceremonies. The chamber is an example of a unique 17th century interior decoration style. It has magnificent painted plaster ceilings and huge decorative oil paintings. There is a red carpet at the hall and a sweeping staircase that leads visitors to the chamber’s entrance. Once inside the hall, you will be dumb-struck by the grandeur of this iconic room that has glittering chandeliers which provide just the perfect spot for wedding ceremonies.

Touring

Different kinds of visitors come from different sides of the world to have a look at this glorious piece of architecture.

Historians find this a nice place to learn about the unique styles of architecture, in a time when technology was not that much advanced.

If you are in Leicester, you can visit The Newarke Houses Museum.

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