About the museum
Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery has been actively collecting since 1897.
Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery’s building is closed for the development of the History Centre.
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‘!
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’.
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.
Like most large collections the museum displays a proportion of its artefacts in the public spaces, which will continue as we go ‘On Tour’. 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.
Plymouth 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 Major Partner Museums funding stream (in partnership with the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter).
We also receive additional grants for specific projects, acquisitions and conservation duties from funding bodies such as the Heritage Lottery Fund, The Art Fund, the Wolfson Foundation and the V&A Purchase Grant Fund.
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.
There are small admission charges at our branch museums – the Elizabethan House, the Merchant’s House (both currently closed for conservation work) and Smeaton’s Tower, all of which are also owned by Plymouth City Council. Additional funding for improvements to these properties, such as the kitchen and garden at the Elizabethan House in 2006/2007 comes from grants such as the Heritage Lottery Fund.
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:
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).
We lend out artefacts from our collections to promote access, increase knowledge and understanding and to support other museums.
..the service is undertaking a project to triple the size of the existing museum by spring 2020..
However the service is undertaking a project to triple the size of the existing museum by spring 2020. During the first phase, all the museum’s 1 million collections were moved so that building work can start.
Loan requests submitted for any period of 2017 to 2018 will be considered on an individual basis. We are unfortunately unable to facilitate loans to other organisations during 2019 when our collections will return to the new building.
Further information on the Plymouth History Centre project and the opportunity to sign up to our newsletter is available on the Love our Past website.