Find out about: Topsham Museum
Topsham Museum is housed in one of a group of late 17th century buildings overlooking the Exe Estuary. Following completion of a stunning new River gallery, the Museum was 'long-listed' for the Art Fund Prize in 2008.
Part of the Museum's focus is on Topsham's maritime history - one particular showpiece is the River Gallery, completed in 2007, featuring unique historic river craft. Visitors can also enjoy the furnished period rooms of the original house and the Sail Loft with its historical timeline of the town's general history. Other interesting exhibits include wildlife of the Exe Estuary, local trades and organisations and memorabilia of the film star Vivien Leigh.
Our beautiful riverside garden is open all year. During the season, home-made teas are served in the cafe or gardens. Do visit our gift shop. Group visits of up to 15 can be arranged for guided tours between April and October by prior arrangement.
Exhibitions and Projects
01 Apr 15 to 31 Oct 15
The Woollen Cloth Trail
31 Mar 15 to 31 Oct 15
50 Years of the Topsham Society
01 Apr 15 to 30 Jun 15
Crossing the Exe
01 Jun 15 to 31 Oct 15
Our Next Event
The Newlyn School and other art colonies of the late 19th and early 20th centuries
When: 26 May 2015
Where: Topsham Museum, Underloft
A lecture by Professor Sam Smiles, Art Historian.
The Newlyn School was colony of artists of artists based in or near this fishing village in Southern Cornwall, from the 1880s until the early twentieth century. The establishment of the Newlyn School was reminiscent of the Barbizon School in France, where artists fled Paris to paint in a more pure setting emphasizing natural light. These schools along with a related California movement were also known as "en plein air".
Newlyn had a number of things guaranteed to attract artists: fantastic light, cheap living, and the availability of inexpensive models. The artists were fascinated by the fishermen's working life at sea and the everyday life in the harbour and nearby villages. Some paintings showed the hazards and tragedy of the community's life, such as women anxiously looking out to sea as the boats go out, or a young woman crying on hearing news of a disaster.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Lamorna, a nearby fishing village to the south, became popular with artists of the Newlyn School and is particularly associated with the artist S. J. "Lamorna" Birch who lived there from 1908.
The museum houses a comprehensive collection of artefacts, documents and photographs that tell the fascinating story of the port of Topsham and its links with the maritime trade.The main areas featured are:
The Sail Loft
Displays the history of Topsham from Prehistoric times: Shipbuilding, fishing and maritime trade, including ship models, shipwrights' tools, maps, photographs, paintings, documents etc. Other exhibits include a model of Topsham as it was in 1900.
The River Gallery
The Gallery holds a collection of historic Exe river boats. Four boats were saved after the closure of the Exeter Maritime Museum: the famous Cygnet, the Market Boat, "Ruby" (a salmon boat) and a Skiff.
Dates from the late 17th century - two rooms are furnished in that period. The kitchen of Miss Holman, the founder of the Museum, has been preserved. Memorabilia in the Vivien Leigh Room (her sister in law) includes the nightdress Vivien wore in the film "Gone with the Wind"
The Underloft houses the popular Museum Tearoom, temporary exhibitions and the Museum Shop, selling unusual and interesting gifts, books on local subjects and Topsham items.
Our Latest news
New Jigsaw for sale: England's Rose
19 May 2015
A challenge for jigsaw enthusiasts! Now on sale in the Museum shop and online. £15...read more
25 April 2015
The eight month campaign on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey was one of the bloodiest of ...read more
Admission & Prices
During the 2015season, the Museum will be open in the afternoons on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, (plus Tuesdays in August), 2pm-5pm from 1st April until 30th October.
Last admission 4.30pm.
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25 The Strand
Topsham, DEVON EX3 0AX