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Discover more about the history and heritage of Pembrokeshire on International Museums Day

Pembrokeshire Tourism - Tuesday, May 09, 2017
Did you know that Thursday 18th May is International Museums Day? Officially established in 1977, International Museums Day aims to “further unify the creative aspirations and efforts of museums and draw the attention of the world public to their activity”. For many of us, perhaps our first thought when we hear the word ‘museum’ is of somewhere rather old and dusty, full of things in glass cabinets that we can’t touch. In Pembrokeshire, we’ve got a wealth of museums that really help bring history to life spanning the period from the Iron Age to the present day. Here’s our top ten to get you started, and all of them feature hands on and interactive activities too!



Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre. Photo credit: BBC
Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre
Pembroke Dock was the world’s largest Flying Boat port, and is also able to boast being the only UK town to have had an association with all three of the UK Armed Forces at some point in its history. From around 1785, the town had a thriving shipbuilding industry, with over 250 ships and sea craft built there, including the 5 Royal Yachts that preceded Britannia. The Heritage Centre is located in the Garrison Chapel in Pembroke Dock, and has a great range of exhibits, interactive activities and a programme of fun things for kids too. This fascinating museum provides a great insight into the military, maritime and social history of Pembroke Dock (and a link to Star Wars too!).


Tenby Museum. Photo credit: Jackie Morris
Tenby Museum and Art Gallery
Situated on Castle Hill in Tenby and overlooking St Catherine’s Island, Caldey Island and Tenby’s beautiful beaches, The Tenby Museum and Art Gallery takes you on a journey through time from the 1st Century to the present day. Within the museum are a number of collections and exhibits covering a broad range of themes from archaeology and geology, to pirates and the story of Tenby town itself. Interactive and hands-on exhibits offer plenty to keep younger visitors busy, whilst the Art Gallery features a permanent collection drawn from a number of notable artists, and has regularly changing temporary exhibitions showcasing works in a variety of mediums from paint to ceramic and photography.


Narberth Museum. Photo credit: artfund.co.uk
Narberth Museum
Narberth’s history dates back many centuries, and it even gets a mention in the Mabinogion! The permanent exhibitions of Narberth Museum provide information on the town’s Castle and medieval siege warfare, how the railway improved the fortunes of the town, and gives a great guide to the tales, myths and legends that form the Mabinogion. With space in the venue for a range of temporary exhibitions, there is always something new to see, learn and try at Narberth Museum. Don’t forget too that if you are researching your family history, or want to know more about a particular time, the team at the Museum have an extensive collection of records and photographs that may hold that missing piece for you.


Haverfordwest Town Museum. Photo credit: www.haverfordwest.org

Haverfordwest Town Museum
Located in the old Prison Governor’s House, Haverfordwest Town Museum is home to a range of artefacts, prints and paintings detailing the history of the town, its people, trade and religious influences over the last 900 years. With plenty to see inside the museum itself, including letters from Oliver Cromwell, and items from the old town gaol, you can also enjoy a wander round the remains of the Castle and see a model of how it would have looked originally.


Milford Haven Heritage & Maritime Museum. Photo credt: www.pembrokeshirebusinesses.co.uk

Milford Haven Heritage and Maritime Museum
Take a journey through time from the Bronze Age to the present day at Milford Haven Heritage and Maritime Museum. The collection covers many aspects of the town’s history from Quaker Whaling and fishing, to war time and the present day energy industry. The building that is home to the museum is one of the oldest in the town of Milford Haven and has a story of its own to tell. Built in 1979, it was originally used for the storage of whale oil awaiting shipment to London for sale. Rest assured, those days are long gone, but you can find out more about the fascinating history of Milford Haven through the exhibition and activities on offer.


Talking Tapestry of Langum. Photo credit: bbc.co.uk

Talking Tapestry of Langum
Taking a different approach to displaying history, the community of Llangwm have been busy researching the Flemish history of the village and creating a 5 metre long tapestry to help tell the story. On display in St Jerome’s Church, the tapestry spans a period from 1066 through to 1402, and features images based on designs drawn by the local school children. To further bring the tales to life, there is an app featuring narration by ‘Mabel’, a 13th Century resident of the area, who features in many of the documents relating to the village history.


The Last Invasion Tapestry. Photo credit: GoFishguard

The Last Invasion of Fishguard Tapestry
Keeping with the ‘stitched history’ theme, the Last Invasion Tapestry in Fishguard depicts a little known event from 1797, telling the story of the last invasion of mainland Britain. Accompanying the tapestry are a number of historical displays, and an audio visual presentation showing how the 30 metre long tapestry was created by the Fishguard Arts Society to mark the 1997 bicentenary of the invasion.



Tudor Merchants House. Photo credit: Tenby Observer

Tudor Merchants House
Head back to the 15th Century and experience life as a Tudor merchant. This three storey house has been carefully restored to give you a real taste of the times, and features clothing, furniture, and recipes from the period. Tucked away on Quay Hill in Tenby overlooking the Harbour, the Tudor Merchant’s shop lets you find out more about the goods that would have been traded, and the influence trade had on the town.


Scolton Manor. Photo credit: Pembrokeshire County Council
Scolton Manor
If you like to get out and about a bit more whilst visiting a museum, then Scolton Manor is a great place to go. The Manor House itself has a long and varied history, and now offers an insight to Victorian life above and below stairs. The 60 acres of park and woodland include a sculpture trail, stables and beekeeping centre and Walled Garden, giving plenty of opportunity to explore and play for old and young alike!


Castell Henllys. Photo credit: bbc.co.uk
Castell Henllys
Train as an Iron Age warrior, huddle around a round house fireplace and watch a woodsman at work at Castell Henllys. This Iron Age village has been reconstructed on the exact site of the Celtic Demetae tribe dwelling from over 2,000 years ago. The Visitor Centre houses an interactive exhibition giving more detail on the history of the site, which stretches across 30 acres of the North Pembrokeshire countryside. Around the site you’ll find the roundhouses, sculpture trails, woodland and riverside walks and even some prehistoric livestock breeds grazing the pastures.
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