Wiltshire Museum

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Coordinates: 51°21′00″N 1°59′35″W / 51.350°N 1.993°W / 51.350; -1.993

Wiltshire Museum
Wiltshire Heritage Museum, Potterne Road, Devizes - geograph.org.uk - 1022996.jpg
Established 1873
Location Long Street, Devizes, Wiltshire, England
Type Archaeology Museum, History museum
Director David Dawson
Curator Lisa Brown
Website Wiltshire Museum Website

The Wiltshire Museum, formerly known as Wiltshire Heritage Museum and Devizes Museum, is a museum, archive and library and art gallery in Devizes, Wiltshire, England. The museum was established and is still run by, the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society (WANHS), a registered charity founded in 1853. After the purchase of an old grammar school the museum was opened in 1873. Subsequently it expanded into two Georgian houses on either side and still occupies this location today.[1]

The museum maintains a collection covering the archaeology, art, history and natural history of Wiltshire. This collection covers periods of history from as far back as the Palaeolithic and also includes Neolithic, Bronze Age, Roman, Saxon, Mediaeval and more recent historical artefacts.[2] Among the prehistoric collections are items from the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site.[3] Several of the collections have been designated as being a significant part of England’s cultural heritage.[3]

One of the most important collections at the museum is the finds from Bush Barrow, an early Bronze Age burial mound in Stonehenge World Heritage Site. The barrow was excavated by William Cunnington in 1808 and produced the richest and most important finds from a Bronze Age grave in the Stonehenge Landscape to date.[4] The finds were acquired by the museum in 1883 and were displayed there until 1922 when they were indefinitely loaned to the British Museum. After a controversial restoration of the largest piece that may not reflect its original finish, the pieces were returned to Devizes in 1985.[5] Replicas are on permanent display in the museum but the original artefacts themselves are kept in a bank vault due to their priceless nature.[6] The original pieces were exhibited for a weekend in 2008 to celebrate the bicentenary of their discovery.[4] The Museum is currently raising funds to be able to create new Neolithic and Bronze Age displays, that will include the Bronze Age gold.[7] English Heritage have announced that they have developed the Stonehenge Museum Partnership with Wiltshire Heritage Museum and Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum to tell the Stonehenge story at the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre.[8]

The natural history collection includes remains of a plesiosaur called Bathyspondylus found at Swindon in 1774. Bathyspondylus swindoniensis was first described in 1982 from the Museum's specimens.[9]

In 2010 the Museum ran a community bus service, the Henge Hopper, linking Avebury with Amesbury and Stonehenge.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wiltshire Heritage Museum: About the Museum
  2. ^ This is Wiltshire: Wiltshire Museum Bids to Shed Stuffy Image
  3. ^ a b "Designated Collections 2008" (PDF) (Press release). The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. July 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-22. 
  4. ^ a b Culture 24: This Weekend Only Bush Barrow Treasures On Show At Wiltshire Heritage Museum
  5. ^ Caple, C. (2000). Conservation skills: judgement, method, and decision making. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-18881-4
  6. ^ British Archaeology: Rethinking Bush Barrow
  7. ^ BBC website
  8. ^ English Heritage: Telling the Stonehenge Story
  9. ^ "Plesiosauria Translation and Pronunciation Guide at dinosauria.com". Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  10. ^ Devizes Gazette

External links[edit]