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The Worcestershire County Museum

The County Museum occupies the North Wing of Hartlebury Castle, home to the Bishops of Worcester for over a thousand years. The Castle, largely constructed of local red sandstone, was substantially re-modelled in the eighteenth century. Nowadays, as well as providing accommodation and a private chapel for the current Bishop, it incorporates three different, but equally fascinating public rooms - the Great Hall, with its thirteenth-century roof timbers, the elaborately decorated saloon, and the Hurd Library, constructed in 1782 and little altered since then all three State Rooms are opened as part of the Museum on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during the Museum's February - November open season.

The Museum includes several reconstructed room settings that recall the North Wing's previous use as domestic offices. Visiting school children can once again use the scullery and laundry to prepare food and wash clothes by hand, and learn more about the hard life of the nineteenth century servant from Mrs Gibbs, the Castle's stern housekeeper. Elsewhere in the building there are furnished rooms from the Georgian and late Victorian periods, and an evocative nursery high in the Castle's eves.

The displays reflect the breadth and depth of the Museum's collection, amassed over 35 years and now consisting of over 80,000 objects. Themes span the years between the Roman occupation and the twentieth century, and provide an insight into the county's past, when Dudley, parts of Birmingham and areas of present day Gloucestershire all lay within Worcestershire's boundaries. Industries that created the county's wealth, the social life of the inhabitants and the schooling given to its sons and daughters are illustrated by rich collections of objects and information.

Selections from two of the Museum's better-known collections - of female costume and horse drawn vehicles - can also be appreciated by visitors to Hartlebury. The textiles, covering periods from the eighteenth century to the mid- twentieth centuries, are only exhibited for a season at a time in order to preserve their vivid but easily harmed colours. In the Transport Gallery pride of place goes to the collection of six gypsy caravans, which share exhibition space with delivery vehicles, farm waggons, lightweight carts...... and even a horse-drawn fire engine.


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Worcestershire County Museum

Hartlebury Castle,

Hartlebury Nr Kidderminster Worcestershire

DY11 7XZ

Tel: 01299 250416

Fax: 01299 251890

Email us: Hartlebury Museum

Find us: Location Map

Opening times

Tuesday to Friday

10:00am - 5:00pm

Weekends & Bank Holiday Mondays.

11:00am- 5:00pm