The Willis Museum and Sainsbury gallery

The Willis Museum and Sainsbury gallery
Old Town Hall
Market Place
RG21 7QD




01256 465 902


01256 471 455

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Willis Museum
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Founded by Mr. Willis, a local watch and clock-maker the Willis Museum looks at the last 200 years of Basingstoke and the surrounding area.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Tues- Fri 10.00 - 17.00
Sat 10.00 - 16.00

Closed: Sun
Bank Holidays

Admission charges

Admission Free

Additional info

Public car parks within 5 mins.

Travel back in time, and experience some of the major changes that have created the Basingstoke that we know today. Contrast the present with the past, the rich with the poor. Meet Pickaxe, a 19th century farm worker forced to scrape a living from the streets of Basingstoke as a scavenger. Walk into a 1960s sitting room and kitchen and transport yourself back to the days of teddy boys and twin tubs. Beneath our Feet: Discover Basingstoke and Deane's rich archaeological heritage including the unusual Iron Age burial found at Viables, Fred the Roman skeleton and reconstructions of nationally important Saxon buildings at Cowderys Down. Local History: Dig deeper into your town's past in the local studies room - easily accessible old photographs, maps, postcards and much more.

Collection details

Archaeology, Archives, Natural Sciences, Social History

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
The Artists Rifles exhibition

The Artists Rifles: From Pre-Raphaelites to Passchendaele

  • 5 July — 27 September 2014 *on now

A special touring exhibition, as part of Hampshire’s Big Theme 1914

At the outbreak of World War I, Paul Nash, a prominent artist, gave up painting and enlisted in the Artists Rifles, eventually fighting with the Hampshire Regiment. Inspired by his story, this exhibition introduces the Artists Rifles: a volunteer regiment founded in 1860 under the threat of French invasion. Its early membership was a who's who of the Victorian art world: Burne Jones, Rossetti, Millais, Leighton and Holman Hunt.

The Great War saw a new stream of creative people join its ranks: Frank Dobson, Wilfred Owen, Edward Thomas and John Nash who went 'over the top' with the regiment in 1917.

Follow a history of the regiment and its members through a selection of artworks from major national collections, including the Imperial War Museum, Leighton House Museum, National Portrait Gallery and the British Council Collection. Through their work, memorabilia and fascinating history, meet the Artists Rifles and learn their incredible untold story.

After Basingstoke, this exhibition will tour to Gosport (4 Oct - 27 Dec 2014)

Suitable for

  • Any age