Kingston Museum

Kingston Museum and Heritage Service is part of Kingston Library and Heritage Service and operates on two sites. The Museum, built in 1904 with contributions from Andrew Carnegie, has three permanent galleries: Ancient Origins, Town of Kings and the Eadweard Muybridge Gallery and an Art Gallery hosting temporary exhibitions. The Kingston History Centre at the Guildhall holds a large and growing collection of local history research material.

The museum has a large and varied collection of local interest including the internationally important Eadweard Muybridge photography collection and a fine collection of Martinware pottery. Fun and exciting temporary exhibitions for all ages are held in the Art Gallery, where arts, crafts, photography and local history are all represented.

The Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames has a rich archaeological heritage. The Ancient Origins gallery displays many items from the Palaeolithic Period through to the Pagan Saxon period.

The Brill Collection consists of a series of 74 topographical paintings commissioned between 1955 and 1971 to record through art the changing landscape of the borough.

The social history collection mostly consists of 19th and 20th century domestic objects including cooking and washing equipment, costume and textiles and household effects.

Eadweard Mubridge was a Kingston-born, Victorian photographer whose internationally renowned, experimental photography pioneered the moving image. Muybridge spent his career in America and on his return to Kingston in the 1890s he bequeathed his equipment and prints to Kingston Museum, including a significant collection of lantern slides along with equipment such as the zoopraxiscope.

Be inspired by the wide ranging programmes and join popular lectures, workshops and other events throughout the year. Kingston Museum works closely with schools, colleges and community groups and support curriculum learning. Local community groups are welcome to use the Community Case for their displays: contact the Museum to book. Would you like to get more involved? Join the Museum Friends!

If you want to actively support the Kingston Museum and Heritage Service, consider becoming a volunteer, an invaluable part of the Service team. Volunteer tasks include welcoming the public, gallery invigilation, answering enquiries, researching local and family history enquiries, cataloguing and developing finding aids as well as working on specific projects.

The volunteers' dedication, support and enthusiasm are greatly appreciated, and is recognized by giving a discount in the Museum shop and all the benefits of free membership of the Friends.

Look out for…

  • Eadweard Muybridge collection
  • Chessington Hoard
  • Martinware ceramic collection
  • Saxon log boat
  • Nipper the dog

Did you know?…

  • The name of Kingston itself is derived from a royal connection as it comes from the phrase Kinges Tun, meaning a royal farm or estate. The very first reference to the town was made in 838 where details of a royal council presided over by King Egbert were documented.
  • The town’s royal connection dates back over a thousand years and seven Saxon Kings were once thought to have been crowned here. The Coronation Stone, Kingston’s most historic landmark, now sits in the grounds of Guildhall near the 12th century Clattern Bridge.

Museum Facilities


Audio Guide

Wheelchair Access


Tour Guide




Venue Hire

All information is drawn from or provided by the museums 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.