Petersfield Museum and Art Gallery is an accredited, independent museum and registered charity. Established in 1999, it has recently completed its ambitious, £4 million ‘Pathways into the Past’ Project, which has created a step change in how visitors engage with Petersfield Museum and Art Gallery, that will be enduring in the long term. The NLHF supported Project has enabled the Museum to fulfil its vision:
Situated at the foot of the South Downs within England’s newest National Park, Petersfield Museum and Art Gallery will be a focal point for the area’s unique history and cultural heritage. It will be at the heart of local life and a compelling attraction for visitors from further afield. Historic buildings and contemporary architecture with welcoming social areas and stimulating learning spaces, wide ranging, engaging collections and diverse educational and events programmes will hopefully inspire visitors of all ages to investigate and explore further our region’s many historic and cultural assets.
Having re-opened in June 2021, the project has transformed the Museum’s buildings, exhibitions and programmes and has hugely increased the scope of what the Museum and Art Gallery is able to offer to visitors. It has created the capacity to ensure that the Museum and Art Gallery is successfully integrated into the visitor destination of the South Downs National Park at the same time as being strongly rooted in the local community, putting Petersfield Museum and Art Gallery on the map for local people and visitors alike.
A rare example of a restored Victorian Justice Heritage site centred around the town’s original Magistrate’s Courthouse and Police Station, the Museum’s permanent collections include social history archives and artefacts relating to Petersfield and the surrounding area including important bronze and iron age artefacts found on Petersfield Heath, the Flora Twort Collection of art, the Don Eades Photographic Collection and the Bedales Historic Costume Collection. It also hosts the Tim Wilton-Steer Collection of works by and about the poet Edward Thomas, housed in the Museum’s purpose designed Edward Thomas Study Centre.
The Flora Twort Gallery, a brand-new building created within the redevelopment is the Museum and Art Gallery's bespoke temporary exhibition space, where we host exciting new exhibitions that can be curated in-house and showcase exhibitions from other museums and institutions.
Focusing on the Museum’s Learning Space in the Courthouse and the central external courtyard, we have developed an exciting programme of events for visitors: from outdoor theatre to live concerts and film screenings, as well as museum-wide Toddler-Takeover days and large-scale events, such as our Victorian Heritage Weekend and a creative arts festival. We have also hugely increased our educational offering and lifelong engagement programmes to ensure that Petersfield Museum and Art Gallery is deeply embedded as an invaluable community based cultural hub, accessible and open to everyone.