The Salisbury Museum and Wessex Gallery of Archaeology

Salisbury Museum
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A friendly museum in a Grade 1 listed building. Winner of six major awards including a Museum of the Year award and the English Tourist Board England for Excellence. The archaeology collections are Designated Collections of national importance.

Home of the Stonehenge gallery, Warminster Jewel and famous Monkton Deverill gold torc. Displays of prehistory in Early Man; Romans and Saxons; the medieval history of Old Sarum and Salisbury (with the renowned Giant and Hob Nob); the Pitt Rivers (father of modern scientific archaeology) collection; ceramics and costume; a pre-NHS surgery; pictures throughout the Museum, including Turner watercolours.

Also home to the Wessex Gallery of Archaeology.

Temporary exhibitions all through the year. Gift and coffee shops. Season tickets and membership benefits available.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Monday to Saturday 10:00 to 17:00
Sunday (June - September only) 12:00 to 17:00
Bank Holidays 10:00 to 17:00 (closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day)

Admission charges

Adults £8.00
Children £4.00
Families £20.00


  • Museums Association
  • English Heritage

The archaeology collections at this museum are Designated Collections of national importance.

The Designated collections contain rich and varied material from major prehistoric and later excavations, including finds and archaeology from nearby Stonehenge and other villages in south Wiltshire.

Collection details

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

Key artists and exhibits

  • Stonehenge Interactive Gallery
  • Turner watercolours
  • Victorian costume
  • Wedgewood, ceramics & glass
  • Medieval history
  • Pitt Rivers gallery
  • Social history
  • Archaeology
  • Art
  • Designated Collection
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
The Lacock Cup

Secular to Sacred: The Story of the Lacock Cup

  • 31 January — 4 May 2015 *on now

A Spotlight Tour from the British Museum

The Salisbury Museum is the first of five venues exhibiting the magnificent Lacock Cup recently jointly acquired by The British Museum and The Wiltshire Museum with support from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art Fund and private donations. Dating from the mid-15th century, the Lacock Cup is a stunning piece of craftsmanship with a unique dual history; it has been used both as a feasting cup and a holy chalice. An English silver and partially gilded drinking cup, it is of a type dating to the late Middle Ages, most of which have been destroyed. The Lacock Cup survived only because it was gifted to the Church of St. Cyriac in Lacock, Wiltshire in the post-reformation period, where it was used as a sacred vessel for over 400 years. It was loaned to the British Museum in 1963 but continued to return to Lacock for certain religious festivals until about thirty years ago.

This capsule exhibition will explore the rich context surrounding the Lacock Cup, in particular its secular and sacred associations, and the historic shifts it encountered. Alongside objects from our own collections, other remarkable objects on loan exclusively to The Salisbury Museum include a gold coin of the Crown of the Double Rose of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon (Mint 1526-33), a group of silver chalices, and the terminal of a medieval drinking horn.

As well as private collections, lenders to the exhibition are: Churches Conservation Trust and the local parishes of Lower Wylye & Till Valley; Wylye and Fisherton; Upper Wylye; Odstock, Nunton and Bodenham. We would also like to thank Salisbury Cathedral for their assistance with these loans.

Generously supported by the John Ellerman Foundation.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Normal admission charges apply.

Through the Barley to the Wide Open Plain by Vanessa Stone (2014)

The Slices of Life

  • 14 February — 4 May 2015 *on now

An exhibition by paper cutting artist Vanessa Stone.

Vanessa was born in Winterslow, went to school in Salisbury and comes from a South Wiltshire family that stretches back hundreds of years. This exhibition focuses on work inspired by her memories of growing up in the city and the surrounding landscape.

Describing how she wants to ‘make the memory of seeing real’, her paper cutting embodies an emotional response to a place, scene or thing she has seen. What is even more poignant about this is the connectedness across the years – a scene from Vanessa’s childhood is just as likely to be a scene from Salisbury life today.

Vanessa uses a scalpel to ‘draw’ into paper, cutting away to make an image come from the surface of the paper. By paring the elements down to the essentials of line, colour and composition, she creates at once a vibrant and intricate response to her memories, makes that moment in time a tangible thing.

After years of specialising in textiles, Vanessa started cutting into paper in 2006. Inspired by the dynamism and life of Matisse’s cutouts, and increasingly aware of the work of artists such as Rob Ryan and Beatrice Coron, Vanessa describes her journey into paper cutting as a compelling ‘quest for a sharper line, a more clean composition, a flatter surface.’

Suitable for

  • Any age


Normal admission charges apply.

painting of Salisbury by Turner

Turner's Wessex: Architecture & Ambition

  • 22 May — 27 September 2015

Salisbury Museum is extremely proud to announce a new exhibition of national importance, throwing new light on the earliest work of the young artist J.M.W. Turner in and around Salisbury and its magnificent cathedral.

Turner first visited Salisbury in 1795 when he was 20 years old. As his career developed, he returned to paint an area that captivated him as an artist. Set in the vast plains of the Wessex landscape, his depictions of Stonehenge in particular proved to be among his most hauntingly atmospheric works.

In the late 1790s, Sir Richard Colt Hoare commissioned Turner, then barely into his twenties, to produce a series of watercolours of Salisbury, the most impressive of which depict the newly restored great cathedral. Hoare was a wealthy gentleman-antiquarian who inherited the nearby Stourhead estate in 1784. His involvement in the first archaeological surveys of the ancient landscapes around Salisbury led him to publish volumes documenting the history of Ancient and Modern Wiltshire.


Normal admission charges apply


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.
The Singular Exploits of Sherlock Holmes

'The Singular Exploits of Sherlock Holmes

  • 15 May 2015 6:30-8:15pm

Join us for an evening in the company of Mr Sherlock Holmes brought to life by Jonathan Goodwin, Artistic Director of 'Don't Go Into The Cellar'. This performance is an affectionate one-man homage to Sherlock Holmes as he recounts the highlights of his crime-busting career. Jonathan not only assumes the guise of Sherlock Holmes, but his adversaries too. This is a high-energy performance, featuring wry humour and quick costume changes - Victorian theatre at it's Gothic best in the setting of the Museum's old Chapel.

Suitable for

  • 11-13
  • 16-17
  • 18+


Adults £8
Under 15's £4

Wessex Gallery, grand opening, July 2014, The Salisbury Museum

A Feast of Archaeological Fun

  • 18 — 19 July 2015

The Festival falls within the ‘Digging Season’ and before the Schools summer holidays. The weekend will include presentations and lectures, set against a big showground event. Leading figures in the British archaeology community will be present to debate, make presentations and engage with the public.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Please check admission and booking details before visiting.


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.

Br Grave, it's the Saxons!

2 hour session in the museum or classroom
Pupils will become history detectives and discover what a mysterious grave can tell us about Salisbury's Saxon past. The session is an opportunity to learn about the past from things left behind through handling real Saxon grave goods, plus lively activities and costumes to try.
£2.75 per pupil
Travel to and from school:40p per mile

Hilforts and Catapults

2 hour session in the museum
You class will be split into two opposing sides in order to understand how the Romans took defensive Iron Age hill forts, like Old Sarum, using ingenious catapults. An opportunity to investigate forces, construct catapults, and understand the local area's Iron Age and Roman past. Links with science.

Homes Through Time

2 hour session in the museum or classroom
Explore how objects in our homes have changed over time. Using real Victorian objects, children will discover how life in the past was different to our lives today.
£2.75 per pupil
Travel to and from school:40p per mile

Investigating Prehistoric Pots

1 to 1.5 hour session in the museum or classroom
Discover the secrets of these mysterious pots and have a go at designing, making abd decorating your own Bronze Age Beaker pot.
£2.75 per pupil
Travel to and from school:40p per mile

Medieval Salisbury

2 hour session in the museum or classroom
What life was like for people living in the new medieval city of Salisbury, what were the guilds and why does Salisbury have it's own Giant? All will be revealed as pupils handle real medieval artifacts and creat their own unique coat of arms.

Mini Museums

Whole or half day sessions in the museum
Your pupils will learn some of the tranferable skills needed to become museum curators. Creative thinking, team working, historicak enquirary, presesntation and literacy skills are all developed through lively object handling and creative activities. Your pupils will have a chance to discover what happens behind the scenes of a museum, investigate mysterious artefacts and work together to create their own mini-museums in an open-ended design challenge.
£3.50 per pupil

Roman Dig

2 hour session in the museum
Discover what it is like to be an Archaeologist and find out what we can learn from the things the Romans left behind. Handle real Roman artifacts and discover how they were made and what they were used for.
£2.75 per pupil

Roman Pottery

1 hour session in the museum or classroom
Create a Roman pot from air drying clay using real pottery as inspiration and decorate it using Roamn designs and motifs.
£2.75 per pupil
Travel to and from school: 40p per mile

Saxon Art

1.5 to 2 hour session in the museum or classroom
Pupils will make their own stamps to decortate their Saxon inspired pots. THey will also make a colourful stings of beads and design a shiled and helmet for a Saxon warrior.
£3.50 per pupil
Travel to and from school:40p per mile

Slave Yourself

Musa, the wife of a notable Roman who has recently settles in Britain, needs to buy slaves for her new Villa and your pupils might be just what she's looking for. Object handling, role play and hands on activities. Make Roman Ink, Roman perfume, leather sandals and honeyed dates.

The Evacuees are coming!

2 hour session in the classroom
What was it like to share your school, home and village with evacuees during the war? Local school teacher and member of the Woman's Voluntary Service, Mrs V. Strictly, will take charge of the class as she prepares them for life on the Home Front and life with evacuees. Pupils will handly real 1940's objects, experience gas practice, school lessons 1940's style and role play.
£3.00 per pupil

The King's House

2 hour session in the museum
Meet Mrs Duncan, a Victorian SChool Teacher who lived in the KIng's HOuse a long time ago. Using old photographs and evidence left behind from the past, she will help youe class look for clues that tell us how the building has changed over time.
£2.75 per pupil

The Tudors are Coming to Town

2 hour session in the museum or classroom
It is 1535 and King Henry is visiting Salisbury with his new wife Anne Boleyn. As loyal citizens you must make sure that everything is in place to impress them. Through this hands on, costumed role play session children will discover the differences between rich and poor in Tudor Salisbury and experience what it was like to come face to face with the King.
£3.00 per pupil
Travel to and from school: 40p per mile

Toys Through Time

2 hour session in the museum or classroom
The museum has a collection of old toys but we need your help to sort them out. Which are the oldest? Who would have played with them? How would you describe them? YOu will also have a chance to play with replica toys and make your own old fashioned toys.
Cost:£2.75 per pupil
Travel to and from school:40p per mile

Tudor Life

1 hour session in the museum or classroom
Handle replica Tudor objects, games and costume and investigat what they tell is about life in Tudor times.

Unlocking the Stonehenge World Heritage Site

1 hour sessioin in the museum or classroom
A lively presentation designed to help pupils understand the Stonehenge World Heritage Site. They will explore the meanings behind the monuments un the landscape and how archaeology has helped us understand the mysteries surrounding them.
£2.00 per pupil
Travel to and from school:40p per mile

Victorian Childhood

1-2 hour sessions in the museum or classroom
What was it like for children in Victorian times? Handle real Victorian objects, clothing and toys and discover what these tell us about childhood in the past.
£2.75 per pupil
Travel to and from school:40p per mile

Victorian Life

1-2 hour session in the museum or classroom
An engaging handling session exploring Victorian life through objects, costume and photographs. What do they tell us about the differences between life today and life in the past? What do they tell us about life in the country and life in the town? Children will use creative thinking and enquiry skills to find the answers.
£2.75 per pupil
Travel to and from school:40p per mile

Who was the Amesbury Archer?

2 hour session in the museum
What can we learn about people from the things they left behind? Focusing on objects and evidence from the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, pupils will bring to life the famous Amesbury Archer and use a range of skills to unlock what life was like for people living in Salisbury 4000 years ago. Pupils will handle real prehistoric objects and take part in costumed role play. Supports literacy.
£2.75 per pupil

The Salisbury Museum and Wessex Gallery of Archaeology
The King's House
65 The Close


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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.