A Little History
Well, it wouldn't be a museum without history, would it?
There wasn't a museum, well, not Dartmouth Museum, in Dartmouth until 1949. The Henley Museum existed before that, but its history is in the Henley Collection. You can read about that in a minute.
The decision to create a general Museum about Dartmouth in the town was taken on 11th July 1949 with Mr. Percy Russell in the chair (he who wrote a history of the town before Ray Freeman took on the mantle) and the first special exhibition was opened on August 22nd of that year by the Mayor. This was in the old Library in Newcomen Road - now back to being a private house.
The Museum moved into the Butterwalk premises in 1954 and was opened on 14th April of that year. Again, the leading light of getting the Butterwalk itself restored after war damage and then getting the Museum moved there, was Percy Russell.
The full story was compiled from the records of meetings and archives by the late Maurice Riddihough and our Chairman David Lingard, and is available for inspection by those who wish it.
And, if you need a reason to visit, we have a whole load of them.
|Summer (1 April - 31 October inclusive)
|Sunday & Monday
|Tuesday to Saturday
|Winter (1 November-31 March inclusive)
The Museum is only closed on Christmas, Boxing and New Year's Days.
If you intend to travel some distance to visit us around Easter time please Get In Touch and check our opening times before you visit. We normally run our summer opening hours from 1 April or from Easter, whichever happens earlier. Such is the fun of a movable feast!
We are as flexible as we can be with closing times. We tend to close the outer door with 20 minutes to go before the official closing time, but we try not to hurry our visitors out. If our volunteers are able to stay open past closing time for you then they will, but please remember that they are volunteers and may have commitments themselves.
|Children (ages 5 to 16)
At present the museum is not geared up to take cards of any sort as payment.
Members of the Dartmouth Museum Association receive free entry during opening hours. Learn about membership and the benefits it brings.
Who Runs The Museum
The Dartmouth Museum Association is a registered charity, No.306635. The association is staffed entirely by volunteers. All our stewards volunteer their time and receive no pay. The museum is supported entirely from a mixture of the very small admission fees and is fortunate to have obtained grants to enable it to perform renovations and to create new and more vibrant exhibitions.
Do think about supporting us by joining us.
There is a small shop which offers guides and papers by local and other historians, together with a selection of souvenir postcards. Reprints of pictures in the Picture Archive are also provided through the shop. At present the museum is not geared up to take cards of any sort as payment.
Commercial Photography and recording of videos is permitted in the museum if you book in advance. Requests may be made by email to the curator; please tell us broadly what you will be doing and why. Please Get In Touch if you would like to request permission. It's ideal to give several days notice, please. We may need to discuss things with you and work out times and dates.
Photography and Videos by Museum Visitors
All we ask is that you do not use flash or tripods because those things spoil the visit for other visitors. Please don't hog the exhibits, and, if you tweet your pictures or put them on your web site, please leave a link to us and tell your friends where you took the pictures!
We used not to allow photography at all, but we changed this policy in May 2012. We think it's much better this way.
This mission statement is a part of the Constitution of the Dartmouth Museum Association:
The Dartmouth Museum Association is a non-profit making charitable organisation with dedicated members whose primary objectives are to operate a Maritime Museum and to preserve and display the history of Dartmouth.
We, the Members of the Association, believe that we have responsibility to research and exhibit permanently, or in rotation, the many artefacts and collections, that are acquired, donated or loaned to us, for the edification and for the benefit of the residents and visitors to Dartmouth.
Our aims are to continually update and improve the effectiveness of the displays of our collections, to encourage the participation of local and visiting schools, and to enable residents and visitors alike to identify the Museum as a vital and essential part of the community of Dartmouth.
To achieve these objectives the Museum is open on a daily basis; the background and significance of each exhibit is researched and informative displays are staged.
The museum is easy to find. It's a small and well signed doorway in The Butterwalk between The Butterwalk itself and the National Westminster Bank.
From Brixham, Paignton and the East
Follow the road signs to Dartmouth. By car either the Higher Ferry or the Lower Ferry will deliver you to the town, but see the note on parking. If on foot you have a third ferry to choose from, the Passenger Ferry
From Totnes, Kingsbridge and the West
Follow the road signs to Dartmouth. See the note on parking and opt for the Park and Ride service rather than drive into the town
There is limited parking close to the Museum. During busy periods such as school holidays, please use the excellent Park and Ride service. During the annual Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta don't even try to park in town, head for the Park and Ride car park, and take the shuttle bus into town. You'll save yourself endless frustration.
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We know you want to know what the weather's like in Dartmouth so you can plan your visit
We wish we had a secure place for you to leave your dog while you visit us, but the only dogs we can allow into the museum are assistance dogs (see Accessibility). There just isn't the space for them. What we suggest is the shady area under the trees in Royal Avenue Gardens just over the road, and taking turns to come into the museum, Or take them for a leg stretch 400 metres or so away to Coronation Park (head to the embankment, turn left, and you're there before you know it).
Access to the museum and Jesse Room can be a problem for the physically disabled due to the design of the building. Wheelchair access is currently impossible. The museum has therefore produced a DVD giving a virtual tour into Dartmouth's rich heritage and the museum's collection. This can be viewed free in the Dartmouth public library which is close by; it is also available for purchase at the museum.
Your assistance dog is welcome in the museum.
Our webmaster has done his best to make sure the web site itself is fully zoomable wuth good contrast for our visually impaired visitors.
Under normal circumstances we ask that you use the public conveniences in Royal Avenue Gardens a very short distance away. While there is a private toilet in the museum it is not a public facility and is not presented as such. Our stewards will not refuse a reasonable emergency request, but you must, please, take the room as you find it.