Walks index

Museums in Cambridge


Obviously, this is not a walk, but if you are visiting Cambridge, I thought that a list of Cambridge museums might be useful. Most museums in Cambridge are small. Some of the museums are grouped together, so you could visit more than one at a time. The Folk Museum and Kettles Yard are close. So are the Sedgwick Museum, the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the Zoology Museum and the Whipple Museum. The Fitzwilliam Museum and the Botanic Garden are very large, and you would not see everything in them in one visit, so don't try to combine them with another museum visit. Most museums are connected with the university. Sometimes they have eccentric opening times, so please check with their websites before trying to visit. Most are free but some charge.

There is no museum giving a history of Cambridge or the university. The Museum of Cambridge (formerly the Folk Museum) has local historical artifacts, but concentrates on the town rather than the university.

Most of the museums have shops that sell souvenirs. Only the Fitzwilliam Museum and the Botanic Garden have cafes. There are plenty of places to eat in the city centre.

namecontent
websiteFitzwilliam Museumfreeart and antiquities
websiteZoology Museumfreeskeletons of animals
websiteSedgwick Museumfreefossils
websiteKettles Yardfreemodern art
websiteScott Polar MuseumfreeArctic and Antarctic
websiteMuseum of Classical ArchaeologyfreeGreek and Roman statues
websiteMuseum of Archaeology and Anthropologyfreearchaeology and anthropology
websiteUniversity Libraryfreebooks
websiteWhipple Museum freescientific instruments
websiteBotanic Gardenentrance feeplants and flowers
websiteMuseum of Cambridge (formerly the Folk Museum)entrance feelocal historical artefacts
websiteMuseum of Technologyentrance feemachines
websiteCambridge Science Centreentrance feehands-on science
websiteCentre for Computing Historyentrance feeworking historic computers
Fitzwilliam Museum Kettles Yard Folk Museum University Library Museum of Classical Archaeology Museum of Technology Scott Polar Museum Sedgwick Museum Whipple Museum Botanic Garden Zoology Museum Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology Centre for Computing History Cambridge Science Centre

Map of museums in Cambridge

Click on the photos for a bigger version.


Free museums


Fitzwilliam Museum

The Fitzwilliam Museum is on Trumpington Street. There are antiquities on the ground floor, including the ancient Egyptian rooms, and art from the Far East. On the first floor there is a fine collection of European art of various periods, such as French Impressionists, medieval art, etc. There are temporary exhibitions. If you have any interest in art or antiquities, then this is a museum of national importance and well-worth seeing. It is a large museum and you are unlikely to see everything in one visit. It is free to enter, but you will be invited to make a donation. There is a cafe.

Click here for the museum website.

Fitzwilliam Museum

Zoology Museum

Zoology Museum

The Zoology Museum is in the New Museums site (also called the Old Cavendish). Turn off Downing Street, and head for the stairs under the whale's skeleton (see photo). You can climb up to see the whale closer, and read about it, if you wish.

The Zoology Museum has a large collection of skeleton of animals, plus some fossil skeletons as well. They are fascinating to children.

At time of writing (Aug 2013) it is closed for refurbishment until 2016, so check website before visiting.

Click here for the museum website.


Sedgwick Museum

The Sedgwick Museum is in a corner of the Downing Site. Enter the doorway from Downing Street, and turn left. Walk up the staircase with bears on it.

Explore more than 550 million years of Earth's history through the museums collections of fossils. There is a giant Iguanodon skeleton, plus more dinosaurs. At one end, there is a Minerals gallery, with beautiful minerals and gemstones.

The museum runs events for children from time to time. See website for details.

Click here for the museum website.

Sedgwick Museum

Kettles Yard

Kettles Yard

Kettles Yard is on Castle Street. It is a museum of modern art. The entrance is down the alleyway to the right of the photo, by the church. The museum is split into two parts. On the left of the alleyway is the gallery area which houses temporary exhibitions. Check their website to see what is on when you want to visit. But if you carry on the alleyway, then on your right is a door. This leads to the house where Jim Ede lived. In the 1920s and 30s Jim had been a curator at the Tate Gallery in London. Thanks to his friendships with artists, over the years he filled his house with a remarkable collection, including paintings by Ben and Winifred Nicholson, Alfred Wallis, Christopher Wood, David Jones and Joan Miro, as well as sculptures by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Constantin Brancusi, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.

Click here for the museum website.


Scott Polar Museum

The Scott Polar Museum of on Lensfield Road. Its collection includes artefacts, journals, paintings, photographs, clothing equipment, maps and other materials illustrating polar exploration, history and science.

There is a sculpture outside called an Inukshuk, originally made by Inuits. Click here to see it, and click here for other sculptures round this museum.

Click here for the museum website.

Scott Polar Museum

Museum of Classical Archaeology

Museum of Classical Archaeology

The Museum of Classical Archaeology is on the Sidgwick site, off Sidgwich Avenue.

It has a collection of plaster casts of Greek and Roman statues. There are 450 on display. These are full-sized replicas of the original statues.

Click here for the museum website.


Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

The Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is part of the Downing Site. The front door is on Downing Street (left) and the back door is inside the Downing Site (see right).

The museum has collections of Oceanic, Asian, African and native American art - canoes, sculptures, masks, and textiles. It also has archaeological discoveries, including British finds from Roman and medieval periods.

Click here for the museum website.

Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

University Library

University Library

The University Library is not open to the public, although people may apply for access if they wish to read books in the collection. Click here for details.

The University Library does have an exhibition centre, where it holds a couple of exhibitions a year. There is no permanent display. See the website for what is on when you plan to visit.

The University Library is on Burrells Walk, which is off Queens Road, opposite Garret Hostel Lane. The exhibition centre is at the front of the building.

Click here for the museum website.


Whipple Museum

The Whipple Museum is in Free School Lane, at the Downing Street end.

The museum's collection includes scientific instruments, apparatus, models, pictures, prints, photographs, books and other material related to the history of science.

Click here for the museum website.

Whipple Museum

Museums with an entrance fee


Museum of Cambridge (formerly the Folk Museum)

The Museum of Cambridge is on Castle Street. It is housed in a 17th-century timber-framed building, which was formerly the White Horse Inn for 300 years. It has a rich and varied collection of 20,000 objects, pictures and documents which provide a fascinating insight into the history of Cambridgeshire people. The nine room settings include the Bar, the Snug, the Kitchen, the Guest Room, the Dining Parlour, the Fens & Folklore Room, Arts & Artisans, Childhood and the Playroom.

The museum has been renamed the Museum of Cambridge, but everyone still calls it the Folk Museum!

This museum has an entrance fee.

Click here for the museum website.

Folk Museum

Botanic Garden

Botanic Garden

The Botanic Garden is 40 acres of gardens and glasshouses. There are two entrances. One (in the photo) is on the corner of Trumpington Road and Bateman Street. The other is next to the war memorial, at the end of Station Road.

The garden has many different parts and and you are unlikely to see everything in one visit. The map on the Botanic Garden website describes what is where. The glasshouses are at different temperatures, showing different environments.

There is an entrance fee. There is also a cafe.

Click here for the Botanic Garden website.


Museum of Technology

The Museum of Technology is on Riverside. It is open on Sundays during the summer. It has a few steam weekends during the year when it has several of its steam engines working. The first river walk goes past this museum.

The museum is based in the original sewage pumping station for Cambridge. It has steam engines, a print room, and various industrial equipment from local firms.

This museum has an entrance fee.

Click here for the museum website.

Museum of Technology

Cambridge Science Centre

Cambridge Science Centre

The Cambridge Science Centre is on Jesus Lane. It is a small but fun museum.

The museum has online exhibits to play with, demonstrating scientific principles. It also has a programme of workshops.

This museum has an entrance fee.

Click here for the museum website.


Centre for Computing History

The Centre for Computing History is by the railway line, off Coldhams Lane. If coming from the centre of Cambridge, cross the Coldhams Lane railway bridge. There is also a cycle bridge for cyclists and pedestrians. Imediately after the bridge, turn sharp left. Follow the road round. Just before the level crossing, turn right.

The museum has many working computers, especially personal computers, dating back to the days of the BBC and the Sinclair computers, and before.

This museum has an entrance fee.

Click here for the museum website.

Centre for Computing History