Swansea Museum is the oldest museum in Wales.
The collections contain all kinds of objects from the past of Swansea, Wales and the rest of the world. We have everything from an Egyptian mummy to a Welsh Kitchen, displayed in six galleries. There are also many changing temporary exhibitions each year.
It is a fascinating treasure house of Swansea’s past history.
Unfortunately, the grand stone stairs inside and out make access difficult for parents with pushchairs and for the disabled. We are working on ways of improving access to the Museum but it may be useful to telephone ahead of a visit if you think that you will require assistance.
NOTE – We do now have a lift to the second floor.
150 Years of Collecting
The museum was set up by the Royal Institution of South Wales, a group of local people who wanted to investigate and discuss all aspects of history, arts and science at the beginning of the 19th century.
Under their auspices the museum flourished throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, and it continued to be a centre of culture and learning.
Eventually the RISW were unable to support the upkeep of the museum alone. They formed a successful 10 year partnership with University College Swansea but this also fell pray to economic cuts in the late 1980s. The building was under threat of closure. However, a campaign to save the museum drew support both locally and nationally, and in 1991 Swansea City Council saved the building and its collections as a resource for its citizens. The Museum was added to the Leisure Department and became part of the Museum Services which already included Plantasia, the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and the Maritime and Industrial Museum. The Museum Services passed to the City and County of Swansea in 1996.
Renovation and Repairs
From September 1991 work has taken place on the building and the collections themselves. To undertake this massive task, Council money was matched by grants from the Welsh Development Agency, the Museums and Galleries Commission, the Wolfson Trust and the Council of Museums in Wales. There is still a lot to do, but we think that you’ll agree that it has been worth the trouble.
The building now forms a significant landmark at the entrance to the City.
Who Comes to the Museum?
The Museum welcomes visitors of all ages and backgrounds from all over the world. Holiday makers are attracted by the great history and natural beauty of the area, locals by the chance to escape the nearby busy town centre.
The Museum has an extensive local history library that is open to the public by appointment. Please contact the Museum in advance of your visit to ensure that you can use the research facilities.
The collections cover a wide range of subjects, many of which are relevant to National Curriculum topics, and the thriving Education Service welcomes ever increasing numbers of school groups. We can also provide speakers to visit adult and youth groups outside of the Museum.
We are pleased to offer unusual and interesting items for sale at the Museum Shop including handmade Welsh pottery and glassware and fun and educational Toys