Worthing Museum and Art Gallery

Entrance Worthing Museum and Art Gallery
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Opened in 1908 this fine Edwardian building houses West Sussex's largest museum. Permanent displays include archaelogy, one of the UK's largest costume collections, local history and decorative art. Over ten temporary exhibitions a year from contemporary art to themed displays. Varied events programme including Local History Day, Family Art Day's and Fashion and Textile events as well as demonstrations and workshops for adults and children.

Venue Type:

Museum, Gallery

Opening hours

Tues-Sat 10.00-17.00

Closed Sundays, Mondays and some Bank Holidays

Admission charges

Admission free

Getting there

A 7 minute walk South of Worthing station towards the seafront, located in the heart of Worthing Town.

The museum's collections include local archaelogy from Worthing and the surrounding area; costume and textiles dating from 1600; juvenilia; work by members of the Camden Town Group; work by English water-colourists; typographical collection of paintings, prints and drawings; Colin Mear's bequest of chidrens books; material relating to the history of Worthing

Collection details

Archaeology, Archives, Coins and Medals, Costume and Textiles, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art, Land Transport, Literature, Natural Sciences, Social History, Toys and Hobbies

Key artists and exhibits

  • Berenger Benger; John Randall Bratby; Elizabeth Chettle; Myles Birket Foster; Charles Ginner; Keith Henderson; William Holman Hunt; Barnard Meninsky; Charles Alfred Morris; Lucien Pissarro; Ernest Procter; Sir Stanley Spencer
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
One of the dresses for Worthing Museum's costume trail

WMA: Costume Trail

  • 27 April 2017 — 31 May 2018 *on now

An 18 month costume trail is on display to the public across Worthing. The trail consists of a portable and changing series of displays using Worthing Museum and Art Gallery's (WMA) costume collection, and is hosted in showcases by local businesses. The trail of costumes will show how fashion can chart the history of Worthing, creating a visual reminder of the people who lived during various periods.

WMA’s costume collection features over 30,000 pieces, predominantly from 1740 to the present day, including their earliest item which is a 1612 black-work jacket. An untapped resource, the collection is one the largest in the UK.

Working with local groups of children WMA will host research workshops to link the costumes with points of local history and showcase that research alongside the costumes throughout Worthing

Members of the public can able to follow the trail using a trail-map. This features questions for each costume, and may be exchanged for cinema tickets when each site has been visited and the questions answered correctly. Each map will also invite people to record their own memories relating to the costumes to create new heritage.

The showcases will become cabinets of curiosity once the trail has ended to create a lasting legacy for the museum.

The Costume Trail is as much about people as the items themselves. Throughout the creation of the trail, WMA has been assisted by volunteers, the businesses in which the cases are housed and local groups, making this a fully community led project.

Two of the groups who have been involved since the beginning of the trail’s creation are Worthing-based Creative Waves and Men in Sheds. Arts group Creative Waves have run a series of workshops with local children and young people, to produce the attention-grabbing artwork you see inside the showcases, reflecting the decades in which the selected costumes were made and worn. Worthing-based charity Men in Sheds, who support the health and wellbeing of men through their unique offering of shed making and mending, have created the wardrobe styled doors for a number of the cases on display.

Worthing Museum and Art Gallery has received financial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund who have invested £76,800 into the costume trail, as well as South East Museum’s Development Fund of £26,800. The combined funding will see the acquisition of 12 state-of-the-art Click Netherfield showcases which will be placed in businesses around town.

Gerry Connolly, Senior Curator at Worthing Museum and Art Gallery says: “The Costume Trail has been a long time in the planning and I am very excited to see it finally come to life. I have been the curator of costume for over 10 years here at Worthing Museum & Art Gallery and know how amazing the collection and our museum is. Join the trail and experience the costume collection out in our community, visit our fantastic museum and most importantly have fun.”

Executive Member for Customer Services, Councillor Dr Heather Mercer says “It is a privilege to open our historical collection to the public by displaying these beautiful costumes throughout Worthing, and bringing these displays to the community. With over 30,000 different costumes we have one of the largest collections in the UK and I’m looking forward to seeing how people engage and interact with the exhibition and the town’s social heritage.”

Suitable for

  • Family friendly
  • Especially for children



Fans Unfolded

Fans Unfolded

  • 21 October 2017 — 31 March 2018 *on now

Showcasing fans from the museum’s collection, this exhibition places a fashion accessory which is sometimes forgotten firmly in the spotlight. A fan can hardly be considered a necessity, especially in the British climate, however they were once as much a part of a ladies’ fashion attire as a handbag. Not only a means to keep cool, a fan complemented the dress and the wearer. The design of a fan has also been used as a means of sharing news, social gossip or political propaganda and as such, is a comment on the social scene of the day.

Suitable for

  • Any age



On a Night Like This

On a Night Like This - Gary & Bambi Goodman

  • 10 February — 30 June 2018 *on now

After two successful exhibitions at WishLess Gallery in Tokyo and a show at Studio One Gallery in London, Gary and Bambi will be showing their work at Worthing Museum and Art Gallery from February 2018.

Suitable for

  • Any age



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.
Collections in Bloom

Collections in Bloom

  • 16 September 2017 — 31 March 2018 *on now

This exhibition is an indulgent display of items cherry-picked from across the collections that have been taken inspiration simply from flowers. The slection ranges from the most important and significant pieces to the unusual and bizarre. This eclectic display not only celebrates the endless wealth of inspiration that artists and craftspeople have taken from flowers, by also highlights the diversity with the museum’s collection.

Suitable for

  • Any age



Getting there

A 7 minute walk South of Worthing station towards the seafront, located in the heart of Worthing Town.

Worthing Museum and Art Gallery
Chapel Road
West Sussex
BN11 1HP




general enquiries


curator of historic collections


art and exhibitions


art and exhibitions


operations officer



general office

01903 221448

museum shop

01903 221448


01903 221448


01903 236 277

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.