Cambridge Museums are part of the University of Cambridge with most of the museums linked to individual departments. World class internationally acclaimed collections feature in Cambridge Museums from the outstanding art and antiquities collection at The Fitzwilliam Museum to the last letters of Scott at the Polar Museum in the Scott Polar Research Institute.
See materials from the voyages of Captain James Cook at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. The Museum of Zoology is home to the zoological collections of Charles Darwin! Many museums are free entry and cater well for families with onsite family activity centres, trails, interactive displays and children’s events.
The Fitzwilliam Museum
The Fitzwilliam Museum is widely regarded as one of the best art galleries in the UK outside of London. The art collection includes great masterpieces by Titian, Veronese and etchings by Rembrandt. Paintings by East Anglia’s own John Constable are also on display including some of Constable’s famous scenes of Hampstead Heath. American, Asian and European art schools all feature in the collection spanning the 13th century to the present.
The Fitzwilliam is also famous for its Greek and Roman antiquities and an Egyptian artefacts gallery. Medieval and Renaissance printed books, and outstanding collections of pottery, texitiles, fans and furniture as well as various unique pieces of decorative art are all on display.
Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences
A world class collection of fossils, minerals and rocks are here at the free entry Sedgwick Museum, all of which reveal over 550 million years of the Earth’s history. Free events, trails and activities are regularly on offer. Fossils are displayed in geological date order and fossils of dinosaurs, mammoths and sabre tooth tigers. The Sedgwick houses the UK’s oldest geological collection – the Dr John Woodward collection accumulated between 1665 to 1728.
Cambridge Museum of Technology
The Cambridge Museum of Technology is housed within an original Victorian sewage pumping station. Discover the revolutionary effects of Victorian sewage systems and pumping stations at this great museum. Tours feature historic engines, the boiler house, the chimney shaft and exhibits on the Victorian Cambridge Street Tramways.
The Museum of Cambridge
A great social history museum for Cambridge and Cambridgeshire, the Museum of Cambridge is a museum gem exploring the day to day lives of Cambridge and Fenland people. Temporary exhibitions drawn from the museum’s mammoth archive of photography and artefacts feature year round. Past exhibitions have included Cambridge in the 1960s.
The museum is housed within a 17th century timber building and has reconstructed room including a Bar and Snug, a Kitchen, Guest Room and Dining Parlour. Other spaces include the Fens and Folklore Room, Arts & Artisans gallery and the Childhood gallery and Playroom area. The Fens room reveals the many customs, beliefs and the hard life of people working in the Fens in the past.
Free entry Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge on Castle Street is home to an outstanding collection of 20th century contemporary art. Temporary exhibitions are throughout the year and include a variety of art forms from photography, sculpture and painting to film and video. A gallery bookshop is on-site.
Whipple Museum of the History of Science
The Whipple Museum houses an acclaimed collection of scientific instruments and models dating from the Middle Ages to the present. The museum was founded initially on a gift collection from Robert Whipple presented in 1944. Materials including apparatus, pictures and prints, books and scientific instruments from the 17th to the 19th centuries are on show and this is a free entry Cambridge Museum. The main gallery is within a room dating from 1618 which was originally part of the first free school in Cambridge. The museum is part of Cambridge University’s Department of History and Philosophy of Science.
Polar Museum at the Scott Polar Research Institute
The Polar Museum at the Scott Polar Research Institute is part of a research centre which is the world’s oldest. A definitive museum on the history of polar exploration, the Polar Museum has a wide audience ranging from schools and the public to academics. Artefacts, artwork, historic photographs and documents on display include the last letters of Captain R.F. Scott and his fellow polar explorers. Special exhibitions are year round and the Polar Museum has a great family activity centre onsite.
Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
World class collections again feature here at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge. See a range of images and objects drawn from collections of Asian, African, Oceanic and native America art. Objects include masks, canoes, textiles and sculpture. See 18th century material from Captain James Cook’s exploration voyages and Bronze Age, Roman and Saxon collections.
University Museum of Zoology
The Museum of Zoology displays a prized fossil collection and is great for families offering a choice of self-led trails and family activities. Membership to the Young Zoologists Club is free, with a welcome pack on joining. The University Museum of Zoology is free entry and holds the zoological collections of Charles Darwin collected on some of his voyages like the Beagle voyage.