The Museum, which opened in 1991, is accommodated in two grade II* listed houses built in 1721. An orangery decorated with murals has been added to the building. There is also a Japanese-style garden with a fan-shaped parterre, a pond, and a stream.
The Fan Museum owns over 4,000 fans, fan leaves and related ephemera. The oldest fan in the collection dates from the 10th century and the collection of 18th and 19th century European fans is especially impressive. The entire collection is not displayed permanently due to conservation concerns, so three times a year the selection of fans on exhibit is changed. There is also a permanent educational display about fans, teaching about their history, the manufacturing process, and the different kinds of fans.
The Museum operates a conservation unit where work is done both for other museums and for the public. New fans are also made at the Museum, and fan-making classes are held. The Fan Museum also has a reference library.
The Museum is operated by an independent charitable trust and has received financial support from the London Tourist Board, English Heritage, the National Art Collections Fund, the Foundation for Sports and the Arts, The Heritage of London Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund, and from many corporate and individual supporters.
Exhibits include a fan with a built in ear trumpet and a one with a repair kit built into the design.
- Halstead, Robin; Hezaley, Jason; Morris, Alex; Morris, Joel (2007). Far from the Sodding Crowd. Penguin books. pp. 67–77. ISBN 978-0-7181-4966-6.