Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery

venue representative image

Founded in 1910, Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery is currently closed for the development of the Plymouth History Centre.

This ground breaking venue will see the Museum, Central Library and St Luke's Church buildings transformed into a brand new cultural and heritage centre with galleries, exhibitions, events, food, drink, retail and research facilities.

The History Centre is set to open in spring 2020 as part of Plymouth's commemorations for Mayflower 400 - the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims setting sail aboard the Mayflower for the New World.

Venue Type:

Museum, Gallery

Opening hours

We are currently closed for the development of the Plymouth History Centre.

While construction work is taking place we are running a 'Museum On Tour' programme with exhibitions, events and community projects in a range of locations.

Admission charges

We are currently closed for development and due to re-open in spring 2020.

The Cottonian collection at Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery is a Designated Collection of national importance.

The Designated Cottonian Collection was bequeathed to the city of Plymouth by William Cotton (1794 -1863) from whom it takes its name, but the collection was largely assembled during the 18th century by Charles Rogers (1711 - 1784). His connoisseurship, combined with an extensive network of contacts in the art world, resulted in a collection of some 20,000 prints, drawings and paintings, regarded by his contemporaries as one of the finest in England. A 30-day sale in 1799 reduced the collection by two thirds but, nevertheless, the collection inherited by Plymouth is of outstanding quality and provides rare insights into the history of printmaking.

The Cottonian Collection gallery features paintings by Reynolds, Kaufmann, Ruysdael, Laroon etc; works on paper by Altdorfer, Watteau, Guercino etc; furniture, figurines and prints.

Permanent galleries showcase items from World Cultures, Ancient Egypt, archaeology, maritime and local history, Natural History and Fine and Decorative Art collections.

Collection details

World Cultures, Social History, Photography, Personalities, Natural Sciences, Maritime, Land Transport, Fine Art, Decorative and Applied Art, Coins and Medals, Archaeology, Weapons and War

Key artists and exhibits

  • Joshua Reynolds - various
  • A Kaufmann - Beauty Yielded Unto Love...
  • E Burne-Jones - Venus Concordia
  • Stanhope Forbes - The Fish Sale
  • Patrick Heron - Rectilinear Reds & Blues
  • Prunella Clough - Waiting
  • Beryl Cook - Lockyer St Tavern
  • J W Waterhouse - The Hamadryad
  • J M W Turner - Kilchurn Castle
  • J M W Turner - Plymouth from Mount Edgcumbe
  • A Landini - Indecision
  • H S Tuke - Taking a Spell
  • J Olsson - The Sound...
  • Newlyn Paintings
  • Camden Town
  • Maritime Paintings
  • Exhibits may not always be out on permanent display. Please contact the Museum to check before paying us a visit if there is something you specifically wish to see.
  • Designated Collection
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
A photograp of Quarry Series De Lank XV by Lar Cann from the Plymouth Society of Artists

Plymouth Society of Artists: Land and Water

  • 21 January — 4 March 2017 *on now

10am-4pm Monday to Saturday
Closed on Sundays

Come and see an exhibition of works by selected members of the Plymouth Society of Artists (PSA), all of which have been inspired by the land or the sea.

The PSA was established in early 1944, to encourage and foster a professional outlook in the fine arts of painting, sculpture and printmaking for the benefit of Plymouth. Seven decades have passed since then and group has become extremely well-established with many successful exhibitions and a membership drawn from throughout the region and beyond.

This is a chance for you to get a first-hand look at the work of these practising artists. The majority of the pieces on display will be for sale so it’s also an opportunity for you to purchase an original work of art if something catches your eye. A work can be reserved with a deposit. Payment of the balance and collection of it will take place on Saturday 4 March between 10am and 4pm.

This is a 'Museum On Tour' exhibition for the Plymouth History Centre.

Suitable for

  • Any age


The Council House
Armada Way

Getting there

The Council House is situated next to the Civic Centre building in Plymouth's city centre, just off Princess Street and opposite the Crown Court.

The building is used as a base by the city's elected members and Lord Mayor. The exhibition can be found on the ground floor and everyone is welcome.


Admission free


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.

The Imaginators

The Imaginators are a group of toddlers aged from around 18 months old and upwards, pre-school children, mums, dads, grandparents and carers who meet up on selected Wednesdays throughout the year to explore the Museum and have fun! With a focus on play, exploration and learning, every week is different as we journey around our galleries, objects and paintings.
The children learn to build relationships and try their hand at activities such as painting, singing and making, all the time using their developing skills and their imaginations.
Younger siblings/older babies are welcome too. Sessions run from 10.30-11.30 and are led by one of our Arts Education Officers.

How to obtain

Advance booking is essential so call Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery on 01752 304665 to reserve your place(s).

Wild About Plymouth

Wild About Plymouth is a family-friendly natural history group that is open to anyone in the Plymouth area. It is led by enthusiastic experts from Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, Plymouth City Council’s Nature Conservation Team and the University of Plymouth, plus other selected partners. We have a range of events on offer between now and summer 2009. See the website for a full calendar of Wild About Plymouth events.

Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery
Drake Circus


Main Website

The Cottonian Collection



01752 304774


01752 304775

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.