Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery

Photo of museum at night with lights of cars

Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery’s building is closed for the development of The Box, Plymouth.

Our service continues and you can find details of all the offsite exhibitions, events and projects we are undertaking now we are officially ‘On Tour‘!

About the Museum

The current building was opened in 1910. Our fantastic collections have grown due to the generosity of generations of Plymothians who have donated objects. The Museum preserves and displays these collections for the enjoyment of the city’s residents and visitors and will continue to do so, whilst we are ‘On Tour’.

A boy using looking at a display of a skull and a piece of coral

Our collections form the basis for study and research by school children, students, personal and professional researchers, fellow curators and specialists from the region and beyond. They also provide enjoyment and inspiration for visitors to our ‘On Tour’ events.

Our schools and community services continue whilst the museum building is closed, to help ensure that people of all ages can enjoy access to our collections and exhibitions.


Photograph of a man showing a map to a couplePlymouth City Museum and Art Gallery is owned and partly funded by Plymouth City Council – a local unitary authority covering the City of Plymouth. The remainder comes from Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisation funding stream.

We also receive additional grants for specific projects, acquisitions and conservation duties from funding bodies such as The National Lottery Heritage FundThe Art Fund, the Wolfson Foundation and the V&A Purchase Grant Fund.

Sparke Cup

In addition, we receive extra funds from donations.

The Friends of Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery also help us with acquisitions. Visit our Friends page for more information about the benefits of joining the group.

Collecting objects

We continue to add to the collections today and welcome donations. We also purchase items important to Plymouth heritage. This work is dependent on the continued support of generous donors, the Friends of the Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery and national grant-giving bodies.

For details on our current collecting priorities, please read our policies below:

Loans Policy

Loans In

We receive ‘loans in’ from the collections of other institutions and individuals, where they will promote access and increase knowledge and understanding. We undertake to provide at least the same care for borrowed objects as if they were part of the permanent collections. The assumption is against long-term ‘loans in’ (except where these are accepted as key items for display in long-life galleries).

Loans Out

We lend out artefacts from our collections to promote access, increase knowledge and understanding and to support other museums.

However the service is undertaking significant work to deliver The Box, Plymouth. During the first phase, all the museum’s 1 million collections were moved so that building work can start.

We are unfortunately unable to facilitate loans to other organisations during 2019 when our collections will return to the new building.

Visit The Box to find out more about the development.