Museums and archives

Take a fascinating trip through time at the area's museums in Rochester and Chatham.

See all museums and archives event listings or view month-by-month on a calendar.

The history of the area can be discovered at Rochester's Guildhall Museum. The Rochester Guildhall was built in 1687 and is one of the finest 17th-century civic buildings in Kent. Here you can trace 250,000 years of history via colourful and informative displays, wander around a prison hulk and see the terrible conditions endured by the Napoloenic prisoners of war and learn about the life, times and work of Charles Dickens in the Dickens Discovery Room where a short-film is played continuously throughout the day.

Just a short distance from Rochester, the area's military and maritime connections is just waiting to be explored. The Historic Dockyard Chatham has several galleries and museums to visit. The Museum of the Royal Dockyard tells the fascinating history of Chatham's Royal Dockyard, from the Spanish Armada through to the Falklands Crisis and the dockyard's eventual closure.

No.1 Smithery - a cultural venue and centre of world-class mairtime collections at the heart of The Historic Dockyard opened in 2010. A unique partnership between Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, the National Maritime Museum and the Imperial War Museum, No.1 Smithery offers an exciting fusion of museum, heritage and culture with magnificent maritime models, art and other artefacts.

To see larger collections then a visit 3 Slip - the Big Store. Here you can see the 'BIG' things from the collections of The Historic Dockyard and the Royal Engineers Museum. From tanks, midget submarine, boats (large and small), steam machinery and even Kitchener's railway carriage!

Just a stone's throw away from the dockyard is the Royal Engineers Museum. The museum is Kent's only designated museum with a collection of international historical importance. It provides an insight into the debt owed and the part played by our soldier engineers from medieval times to the present day. One display area tells the story of the most recent conflicts involving the Royal Engineers in Iraq and Afghanistan, with a glimpse into the life of a modern day sapper. A new dedicated gallery shows the art of bridge building and the evolution of bridges with substantial model collections.

Featured Events