Peterborough Museum

Peterborough Museum Building
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Peterborough Museum is a fascinating and fun place to visit for all the family, right in the heart of the city centre. Having recently undergone a £3.2 million redevelopment (we open again on 31st March 2012) we're looking better than ever and 2012 is going to be an exciting year for Peterborough Heritage! General admission to the Museum is free, we hope you enjoy your visit, and that you will want to come back and see us regularly – there is always something different to see or do throughout the year. We are a Visit Britain Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance scheme attraction.

Priestgate dates back to the twelfth century (when the current town plan was set down by the monks of Peterborough abbey) and the first recorded house on the site was built in the 16th century (a grand mansion for the Orme family), although the current building dates from 1816. It was the town house of newly-weds, Thomas and Charlotte Cooke. In 1856 the Priestgate mansion was sold to the 3rd Earl Fitzwilliam who allowed it to be used as the city's first hospital, the Peterborough Infirmary, from 1857 until 1928. This impressive Georgian building became the museum in 1931 and an art gallery was added in 1939.

Many of the original Georgian features can still be seen today, as can traces of its use as a hospital - as part of the recent redevelopment, the original operating theatre has been restored and visitors will be able to visit it for the first time (the only one of its kind in the country)!

The Museum and its collections are owned by Peterborough City Council and are managed by Vivacity Culture & Leisure, a registered charitable trust.

Venue Type:

Museum, Historic house or home, Gallery, Heritage site

Opening hours

Open Tues-Sun 10.00-17.00
Bank Holiday Mondays – 10am– 5pm
Mondays (School holidays only) – 10am – 5pm

Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day & Good Friday. We are closed Mondays during term time.

Admission charges

Free admission; donations welcome.

Admission charges may apply to special exhibitions or events.

Getting there

The Museum is in Peterborough city centre, a very short walk (a minute or two) from city centre shops and the Cathedral. It is also a two minute walk from the bus station. Peterborough train station is on the East Coast mainline, and the Museum is a short walk (less than 5 minutes) along a signposted route from the station. Peterborough is conveniently located just off the A1. Follow signs towards the city centre and use city centre car parks. There is limited disabled parking available on-site.

The collections housed at Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery can be seen on display in the permanent galleries, in temporary exhibitions or by arrangement to view from the reserve collections.

There are over 212,000 objects, which have been collected over 130 years, now in the care of Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery. In 1968, the museum and its collections were presented to the City of Peterborough by the Museum Society (founded 1871, as the Peterborough Natural History Society and Field Club).

The collections cover a great many subjects and some are of national and international importance, such as the Norman Cross Prisoner-of-War Craft work, the Jurassic marine reptile fossils, finds from Roman Peterborough and the original manuscripts of the famous poet John Clare.

Collection details

Archaeology, Archives, Coins and Medals, Costume and Textiles, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art, Land Transport, Literature, Maritime, Medicine, Music, Natural Sciences, Personalities, Photography, Science and Technology, Social History, Toys and Hobbies, Weapons and War

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Mad Hatter, John Tenniel illustration

Wonderland Wednesdays Workshops

  • 5 August 2015 10:30am-12:30pm
  • 12 August 2015 10:30am-12:30pm
  • 19 August 2015 10:30am-12:30pm
  • 26 August 2015 10:30am-12:30pm

“Alice’s Adventures” on Wednesday 22, 29 July & 5 August 2015, 10:30am – 12:30pm
“Through the Looking Glass” on Wednesday 12, 19 & 26 August, 10:30am – 12:30pm

Go down the rabbit hole this summer with our unique Alice in Wonderland inspired family workshops! Enter a magical world and use our exhibition for inspiration to get hands-on with your favourite Wonderland characters. Make a mad hatter hat, join the ranks of the Queen of Hearts’ playing cards and lots more as we bring these classic stories to life!

Booking is essential. For tickets call (01733) 864663. For more information visit www.vivacity-peterborough.com

Suitable for

  • 7-10
  • 11-13
  • 5-6

Admission

£5 per child, accompanying adults free

Website

http://www.vivacity-peterborough.com/event/andldquo-wonderland-wednesdays-workshops

Historic Peterborough Tour

  • 8 August 2015 2-3:40pm
  • 15 August 2015 2-3:40pm
  • 22 August 2015 2-3:40pm
  • 29 August 2015 2-3:40pm
  • 5 September 2015 2-3:40pm
  • 12 September 2015 2-3:40pm
  • 19 September 2015 2-3:40pm
  • 26 September 2015 2-3:40pm
  • 3 October 2015 2-3:40pm
  • 10 October 2015 2-3:40pm
  • 17 October 2015 2-3:40pm
  • 24 October 2015 2-3:40pm
  • 31 October 2015 2-3:40pm
  • 7 November 2015 2-3:40pm
  • 14 November 2015 2-3:40pm
  • 21 November 2015 2-3:40pm
  • 28 November 2015 2-3:40pm
  • 5 December 2015 2-3:40pm
  • 12 December 2015 2-3:40pm

If you’re looking for an escape from shopping, a fun way to spend a weekend afternoon or are simply curious about the history of our city, why not join us for an historic tour?

The Historic Peterborough Tour is the essential guide to Peterborough’s past, and runs every Saturday afternoon at 2pm. Find out more about the fascinating and often undiscovered history of Peterborough, from the foundation of the Saxon abbey to the modern city. Discover the secrets of the Cathedral precincts, find out why the river is important as the heart of the city and hear about the many enthralling stories and personalities connected to our past. A must for visitors to the city or local residents alike!

All tours last about 100 minutes and take place whatever the weather, starting from outside the Museum on Priestgate. Walkers can turn up and pay on the day although places can be pre-booked from Peterborough Museum (01733 864663), emailing museum@vivacity-peterborough.com or from the Visitor Information Centre (01733 452336).

Admission

£5 Adults, £3 Concessions

Website

http://www.vivacity-peterborough.com/event/weekend-tours-in-may-and-june

Peterborough Ghost Walk

  • 11 August 2015 7:30-9:10pm
  • 18 August 2015 7:30-9:10pm
  • 25 August 2015 7:30-9:10pm
  • 15 September 2015 7:30-9:10pm
  • 20 October 2015 7:30-9:10pm
  • 17 November 2015 7:30-9:10pm

Explore the spooky side of Peterborough’s past with our entertaining, informative and highly popular ghost walks. Stalk the streets with our costumed guide to discover the eerie secrets of the city, from phantom monks to ghostly children; from a slaughtered Cavalier to a phantom lorry!

Discover more about Peterborough’s most haunted building – the Museum – and most haunted area; the Cathedral Precincts. Beware, you’ll never look at Peterborough in quite the same way again. The walk starts from the museum and heads around the city centre, stopping at sites reputed to be haunted. The walk is with a costumed guide, lasts about one and a half to two hours and tells over a dozen stories of the ghoulish and supernatural.

The walk is designed to be entertaining and educational, a fun and theatrical way to find out more about the city’s past – whilst getting a few chills up the spine. There are no gimmicks or made-up ghosts on this tour – just good, old-fashioned story telling and the power of the stories themselves. All of the stories told are either traditional tales associated with the area, or told us by local people in good faith – and researched and verified as far as is possible.

The stories can be quite gruesome though – so the tour is not recommended for children under 10 or those of a nervous disposition! It is suitable for those who wish to come who are in a wheelchair or have visual impairment. The walk has been featured on radio, newspaper and television, including Channel 4’s ‘The Big Breakfast’ and Living TV’s ‘Most Haunted’.

The tour starts from outside Peterborough Museum on Priestgate. Tickets can be bought from the tour guide on the day or pre-booked from Peterborough Museum (01733 864663) or from the Visitor Information Centre (01733 452336).

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

£5 Adults, £3 Concessions

Website

http://www.vivacity-peterborough.com/event/peterborough-ghost-walk

Crime & Punishment Walks

  • 20 August 2015 7:30-9pm
  • 17 September 2015 7:30-9pm
  • 15 October 2015 7:30-9pm
  • 19 November 2015 7:30-9pm
  • 17 December 2015 7:30-9pm

Delve into the city’s sinister criminal past!

Follow our Victorian policeman around the City Centre to hear tales of Peterborough’s grim past. Find out where the city’s gaols were and about the appalling conditions inside. Learn where public hangings and floggings took place, discover the history of the City police force, find out where someone really did read the riot act, and find out about some of our most notorious criminals.

Tours take place on the third Thursday of the month at 7.30pm, Tickets £5 adults, £3 concessions.

All tours meet (unless otherwise stated) outside Peterborough Museum, Priestgate. All tours last approx. 90 minutes and go ahead whatever the weather! Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear.

Pre-booking is recommended to avoid disappointment – please contact Peterborough Museum on 01733 864663 or email museum@vivacity-peterborough.com.

Admission

£5 Adults, £3 Concessions

Website

http://www.vivacity-peterborough.com/event/crime-and-punishment-walks

Inns & Taverns Tour

  • 3 September 2015 7:30-9pm
  • 1 October 2015 7:30-9pm
  • 5 November 2015 7:30-9pm

-In which pub could you go to watch a cock fight?
-What was ‘Fen Ale’?
-Which pub had a stuffed bear on display and why?

Take a trip down memory lane with our costumed guide and discover the answer to these questions as well as many more of the fascinating stories behind many of Peterborough’s pubs.

Travel back to Victorian Peterborough and find out about the hundred and more drinking establishments that covered the city centre. Hear about some of the bizarre brews and beers, such as ‘Fen Ale’ which used to be served in local pubs, and the breweries which made them.

Learn more about some of the characters and landlords who frequented and inhabited our hostelries. Uncover some of the dark deeds, entertainments and other strange tales connected with our local pubs.

A must for anyone who likes pubs or just simply a good evening’s entertainment!

The tour starts from outside Peterborough Museum. Tickets can be bought from the tour guide on the day or pre-booked from Peterborough Museum (01733 864663) or from the Visitor Information Centre (01733 452336).

Admission

£5 Adults, £3 Concessions

Website

http://www.vivacity-peterborough.com/event/inns-and-taverns-tour

Tudor & Stuart Peterborough Tour

  • 6 September 2015 2-3:40pm

Discover the fascinating, dramatic and often gory stories from one of the best known and most turbulent periods in our history – the time of the Tudors and the Stuarts.

Accompany our costumed guide round the streets to discover the often hidden buildings that still survive from this period, and learn more about the families that lived in them 350 years ago. Hear the stories of the Queens buried in the Cathedral: Katherine of Aragon, first of Henry VIII’s six wives, and Mary Queen of Scots, beheaded at nearby Fotheringhay Castle in 1587.

Learn what happened when Henry VIII closed the abbey down – and how the last abbot became the first Bishop of Peterborough. Find out about what happened when the Civil War came to Peterborough in the shape of Oliver Cromwell then grimace at the ghastly story of the plague in Peterborough, when a third of the town died.

The tour starts from outside Peterborough Museum. Tickets can be bought from the tour guide on the day or pre-booked from Peterborough Museum on 01733 864 663 or museum@vivacity-peterborough.com

Admission

35 Adults, £3 Concessions

Website

http://www.vivacity-peterborough.com/event/tudor-and-stuart-peterborough-tour

Ghostly silhouette

Halloween Ghost Hunt

  • 31 October — 1 November 2015

Join us for a candlelit tour of the building, followed by a chance to spend the wee small hours on a real, live ghost hunt. Try various experiments and pieces of equipment, but will you have a real paranormal experience? Strictly over 18s only and not for those of a nervous disposition!

£25 per person (over 18s only). Pre-booking essential, call 01733 864 663 or email museum@vivacity-peterborough.com

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

£25 per person

Website

http://www.vivacity-peterborough.com/event/halloween-midnight-ghost-hunt

Hooded figure holding a lit lantern

Halloween Horror Night

  • 1 December 2015 6:30-9:45pm

Prepare to be entertained, enthralled and downright scared by a night of dramatised tours around the Museum!

Hear about some of the Museum’s many ghost stories by candlelight, but prepare to jump as the stories come to life using costumed actors, projections and other effects…

One of our scariest events this Halloween season, and as such not recommended for younger children, the nervous or unwary! Tours set off every half hour from 6.30pm and last just under an hour, strictly pre-booked in advance.

£7 adults, £5 students/concessions (Over 14s only). Pre-booking is essential, call 01733 864 663 or email museum@vivacity-peterborough.com

Suitable for

  • 16-17
  • 14-15
  • 18+

Admission

£7 adults, £5 students/concessions (Over 14s only).

Getting there

The Museum is in Peterborough city centre, a very short walk (a minute or two) from city centre shops and the Cathedral. It is also a two minute walk from the bus station. Peterborough train station is on the East Coast mainline, and the Museum is a short walk (less than 5 minutes) along a signposted route from the station. Peterborough is conveniently located just off the A1. Follow signs towards the city centre and use city centre car parks. There is limited disabled parking available on-site.

Peterborough Museum
Priestgate
Peterborough
Cambridgeshire
PE1 1LF
England

Website

http://www.vivacity-peterborough.com/museums-and-heritage/peterborough-museum/

E-mail

All enquiries

museum@vivacity-peterborough.com

Telephone

All enquiries

01733 864663

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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