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All of our Heritage buildings (Guildford Castle, Guildford House Gallery, Guildford Museum and the Undercroft) are closed until further notice to protect the health of our local community and our staff during the coronavirus outbreak. We look forward to welcoming you again once we can reopen.

History of Guildford Museum

There has been a museum on this site since 1898. Watch our video to find out how the museum has grown and adapted over the years.

In 1898, Surrey Archaeological Society moved its headquarters and library into Castle Arch House, the part of the museum on the corner with Castle Hill. The Corporation of Guildford, owners of the house, had recently renovated the building. The society established a museum using their collections. This was primarily for their members. However, they agreed that the public could visit for free one afternoon a week. Over the years the Corporation, and later Borough, of Guildford also started to collect historical material.

Today we look after over 100,000 objects, covering archaeology, social history, art and textiles, some of national importance. However some of our most interesting 'artefacts' are the buildings that form the museum.

Guildford Museum is formed from four main buildings, with various smaller additions. These buildings, Castle Arch House, 48 Quarry Street, the gallery extension and the Muniment Room, date from the mid-16th century to the 1920s.

Castle Arch House is itself partly built using the walls from a much older building: the gatehouse to the castle. The sheriff of Guildford Castle built the gatehouse in 1256. You can still see the remains of the arch that was part of the gateway to the castle.

The museum buildings have had various uses over the years.

Castle Arch House was a high-class family home but also declined in status and was split into five cottages. Did you know that for many years, a girls' school used 48 Quarry Street and where the Muniment Room stands today was a garage?

Find out more about the buildings that form Guildford Museum

Watch this short video which was created with the help of our skilled volunteers. You can find out more about the buildings that form Guildford Museum today and start planning your visit to discover all the different parts of the museum for yourself!