Dartford Borough Museum is a free museum. It is located in Market Street, central Dartford, provided for the general public by Dartford Borough Council. It shares the same building as Dartford Library at the entrance to Central Park, and is open Mon-Fri 12:30-17:30 and Saturday 09:00-13:00 & 14:00-17:00, although visitors are reminded the museum is closed Wednesdays and Sundays.
The museum houses both permanent and regular temporary exhibitions on a variety of subjects. The permanent displays include local archaeology, geology, natural history, reconstruction of a draper’s shop and Dartford during the Second World War.
The original museum was formed and championed. Then later curated by local photographer and antiquary, Mr E. C. Youens. It was located on Essex Road from January 1908-April 1921 and is commemorated in the town by a blue plaque. It then relocated to share the Dartford Library building, its current home when the library extended to make space for the growing museum.
The museum collections have been gathered since 1906. Although it includes objects collected by private individuals in the 19th century. Although the smallest museum in Kent, Dartford museum has approximately 20,000 items. With many that are not on display readily available by appointment to view by contacting the curator.
The most treasured item in the museum collection is a Saxon glass bowel. From around AD 450 known as the ‘ Darenth Bowl‘, found in in 1978 in a Saxon grave in the grounds of Darenth Park Hospital.
In 1956, Dartford Borough Museum underwent a significant and innovative modernisation of its collection. A team of experts led the change over the course of eighteen months. It is to ensure that items were all directly from north west Kent and specifically the Dartford area. It also used new lighting and arrangements. To display items in a way not seen in local museums previously. But led to a growth in visitors.
Also there is an active education programme where items are loaned out to local schools. So, it is also possible to arrange educational visits.
Fancy more information about Dartford? Visit the Local Plumbing Dartford Company website’s home page for more interesting blog posts.
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