Dartmouth Museum

About Us

The History & Team behind Dartmouth Museum.

The History of our Museum

Dartmouth Museum was established by the town authorities in 1949 in the old Library in Newcomen Road – now a private house. The person responsible was Percy Russell, a local historian who had written the first authoritative history of the town. The Museum moved into the Butterwalk in 1954. Again, the leading light of getting the Butterwalk itself restored after war damage and then transferring the Museum into it was Percy Russell.

The Butterwalk is a terrace of four houses built by rich merchants around 1640 shortly before the English Civil War. The houses were then on the quayside so that the merchants could keep a close eye on the loading and unloading of their ships. The Butterwalk was built out over the river mud and has subsided and distorted to the point that there is not a horizontal floor or true vertical anywhere in the building.

On the second floor, there are two new exhibitions.  The Mayflower exhibition opened in 2020 and and in 2023 we opened a new exhibition exploring Thomas Newcomen and the impact of his atmospheric engine on the world and on Dartmouth.

In late Victorian times a polymath ironmonger in Dartmouth had accumulated a large and varied collection which, on his death, was bequeathed to the Town Council, who set up a museum in Anzac Street. This was closed in 1976 and the collection transferred into the custodianship of Dartmouth Museum.

Registered Charity, No. 306635

Our Volunteers

The Museum operates at all levels with unpaid volunteers. The management team listed here is overseen by a Board of Trustees and manages the running of the Museum. The face of the Museum is the around 60-strong team of volunteer stewards who greet and assist the visitors on all but three days of the year.

Mike Rowley

Chairman

Niki Kirkwood

Vice Chairman

Spencer Wigley

Chairman Emeritus

Carol Lingard

Secretary & Volunteers Coordinator

Hazel Morris

Treasurer

Linda Harris

Shop, Merchandising & Volunteer Inductions

Andy Williams

Head of Archive Group

Johnathan Turner

Vice Chair; Marketing & Media

David Heron

Maintenece

Mike Rowley

Chairman

Niki Kirkwood

Vice Chairman

Spencer Wigley

Chairman Emeritus

Carol Lingard

Secretary & Volunteers Coordinator

Johnathan Turner

Vice Chair; Marketing & Media

Hazel Morris

Treasurer

Linda Harris

Shop, Merchandising & Volunteer Inductions

Andy Williams

Head of Archive Group

David Heron

Maintenance 

And All of our Dedicated Volunteer Sterwards

Charitable status & national accreditation

Dartmouth Museum is a Charity, No. 306635
Dartmouth Museum has been an Accredited Museum under the National Museums scheme since 2018. Accredited museums are judged to have processes in place and meet an agreed standard in how they are run; how they properly manage their collections; and how they engage with visitors. Our Accreditation Number is 1622.

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