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Torquay Museum’s aim is to protect and promote Torbay’s cultural and historic heritage, to make it accessible and relevant and a source of enjoyment and inspiration to all.
Torquay Museum is Devon’s oldest established Museum still operating. Founded in 1844 by the Torquay Natural History Society, which was renamed Torquay Museum Society in 2003, the Society celebrated its 160th birthday in 2004.The current Museum building was begun in 1874 and within two years the building was in use. The Museum has been extended and revamped many times in its history. In 1894 the Pengelly Lecture Hall was constructed and this is still used today when it plays host to both the popular lecture series and temporary exhibitions.
In 2001 the museum secured a Heritage Lottery Grant which allowed some major structural work to be carried out including the introduction of a lift, full disabled access, the construction of a café, shop, and refurbishment of the entrance hall and galleries. In 2006 the museum was once again fortunate enough to secure a second grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund which allowed a major refit of Pengelly Hall, turning into a high tech lecture theatre and exhibition hall, plus the development of the exciting new Explorers Gallery on the 3rd floor of the museum. This latest refit also saw the museum brought up to Government Indemnity standards providing the museum with the environment to host touring exhibitions from the National Museums and Galleries.
The Museum holds collections that are exceptional for a Museum of this size with over 300,000 specimens held in the stores of which only about one percent are on display. The collections include objects and artifacts relating to natural history, palaeontology, archaeology, social history, ethnography, Torquay pottery and pictorial records and archives relating to the Torbay area as well as from across the world.
The museum is a dynamic environment that is committed to enabling people of all ages to learn about our past and the amazing world around us.
The Society is a Registered Charity and Company Limited by Guarantee (Registed Charity Number 1025390). The Museum is fully Registered with re:source (Number 966).