The Wilson Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum

The Wilson Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum
Clarence Street
GL50 3JT




01242 237431


01242 262334

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Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum re-opens to the public on the 5th October 2013, as The Wilson, following a major new build costing in the region of £6 million.

In 1898 the third Baron de Ferrieres donated 43 important paintings and £1000 to the town of Cheltenham to build a gallery, which opened a year later. The collections have since grown in number and in quality, with the great majority generously given by the people of Cheltenham.

In 1975 a branch museum was opened in the birthplace of composer Gustav Holst, which was completely furnished from the collections. This became an independent museum in 2000.

The first real increase in space and visitor facilities came in 1989 when HRH The Princess Royal opened an extension to the Art Gallery & Museum. This is the building in which the main entrance is sited.

A major re-development project has transformed Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum, allowing for improved access and enhanced opportunities for the display of its locally, regionally, nationally and internationally important art and heritage collections. It has also enabled the Art Gallery & Museum to become a major venue for national and international touring exhibitions.

This museum has a Designated Collection of national importance.

Venue Type:

Museum, Gallery

Opening hours

Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum closed to the public on 1 April 2011, for the start of a major re-development project, Building for a New Future. It has now re-opened to the public (from 5th October 2013), as The Wislon follwoing a major new build costing in the region of £6 million.

Admission charges


The Arts and Crafts collection at Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum is a Designated Collection of national importance.

Cheltenham's Designated collection relates to the British Arts and Crafts Movement spanning the 1880s to about 1940. The Cotswolds were an important centre for one of Britain's most inspiring and influential art movements. The collection has a strong local base featuring furniture, silver, metalwork, plasterwork, leatherwork and embroideries by designers such as C.R. Ashbee and Ernest Gimson. Since the 1970s the collection has been developed to give a national overview with work by William Morris, C.F.A. Voysey, Baillie Scott, Eric Gill and many others. Visitors are captivated by the colourful designs and craft skills on show as well as the thought-provoking social message of the Movement with its emphasis on creative manual work.

Cheltenham's history is also well represented, and in addition there are paintings spanning four centuries, oriental collections of pottery and costume, and archaeological treasures from the neighbouring Cotswolds, as well as a programme of special exhibitions changing regularly throughout the year.

Collection details

World Cultures, Weapons and War, Social History, Science and Technology, Personalities, Natural Sciences, Music, Land Transport, Fine Art, Decorative and Applied Art, Costume and Textiles, Coins and Medals, Archives, Archaeology

Key artists and exhibits

  • Arts and Crafts Movement
  • 17th- and 19th-century Dutch and Belgian paintings
  • Designated Collection
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

Lynne Chadwick: High Hat Man (1968) and High Hat Woman (1968)

  • 1 October 2014 — 31 March 2015 *on now

We are delighted to be displaying High Hat Man (1968) and High Hat Woman (1968) in the atrium space of The Wilson from October through to the end of March 2015.

This is an exciting opportunity to see work by one of the 20th century's most important sculptors in the unique setting of our atrium space.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Jerwood Drawing Prize 2014

  • 22 November 2014 — 4 January 2015 *on now

This is the UK’s largest and longest-running annual open exhibition and prize for drawing.

From approximately 3,000 submissions, the panel selects 70 drawings which explore and celebrate the diversity, excellence and range of current drawing practice.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Turner: Watercolours from the West

  • 13 March — 10 May 2015

An intimate touring show of eight works by JMW Turner. The watercolours span Turner’s career from student days to mature style, and include views of Bath, Bristol and the surrounding area. Presented by Frameworks.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

At the Seaside

All children love a visit to the seaside, even if it's located inside a museum! This workshop looks back at seaside holidays in the past, through objects, paintings and photographs. There's an original Mr Punch puppet, and costume for looking at and trying on. Children have the chance to think about the similar ways in which they enjoy the seaside to children in the past, even if the costumes were different!

Evacuation Experience

A joint venture with the Gloucestershire-Warwickshire Railway, the Evacuation Experience sees children in 1940s costume travelling by steam train to the 'safety of the countryside.' At the station, they meet Aunty Doris who talks to them about the War, before being allocated jobs on the farm. Available on certain dates only.

Face to Face

An Art & Design workshop based on our wonderful collection of portraits.

How to obtain

Email or or telephone 01242 775702

Identity Parade

Every Wednesday 14.00-17.00, bring your mystery objects, from household items to paintings, to Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum and we'll try to help you find out more about them. If we can't help we're sure to know someone who can.

How to obtain

Drop in between 14.00-17.00, free of charge. Contact the gallery on or 01242 237431 for more details on Identity Parade.

Investigating Toys

Examples of toys from the past, present and other cultures that illustrate forces, movements, energy, sound, light and the use of materials.


  • Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum, Education and Outreach Service


  • Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum

Puppet Workshop

This workshop offers children the opportunity to investigate and enjoy the world-wide tradition of puppets. They can try out marionettes, shadow, rod and glove puppets, and can see Punch and Judy, a wartime Mickey Mouse made from blackout material as well as examples of the Arts & Crafts tradition with beautifully carved animals. The children then produce their own shadow puppet performance.

The Tudors

A workshop offering an opportunity to develop historical knowledge and understanding of everyday life in Tudor times. An exploration of objects in the galleries is complemented by hands-on experience of a range of original and replica artefacts and costume.

How to obtain

For details of costs and availability please email or telephone 01242 775702.

Victorian Life

This popular workshop can be tailored to focus on handling materials that illustrate rural and home life, childhood, education and costume, comparing Victorian life to the present day. This is a unique opportunity to handle original and replica objects and takes the learning experience beyond the glass cases of the museum.

How to obtain

Please e-mail for details of cost and availability.