United Kingdom

St. Faith's Street
ME14 1LH
Phone: 01622 602838
Fax: N/A

Maidstone Museum & Bentlif Art Gallery

This award-winning museum, housed in a beautiful Elizabethan manor house, is one of the best in the South-East. Highlights include a 2,500 year old Egyptian mummy; Maidstone's local history - from toffee to cricket balls! A fascinating journey through time when dinosaurs walked the Earth; one of the finest collections of Japanese art in the country; magnificent 'Old Master' oil paintings; and the splendour of the Queen's Own Royal West Kent regimental museum.
Run by Maidstone Borough Council the Museum is FREE to the public.

 Permanent Collection Highlights (3)

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Permanent Collection

Cultural material from around the world is represented in our ethnography collection of over 4,000 items. The majority of these items form the internationally important Brenchley Collection, from the Pacific area. This material was collected during the travels of Julius Brenchley, who left Maidstone in 1845 to travel the world. Most of the next 28 years were spent abroad building up the fabulous collections which he bequeathed to the Museum in 1873.

Other material from Africa and Asia includes the Walter Pitt collection of Ashante material from the Gold Coast, plus the Hale collection of the Sakai of Perak (Malaysia).

Maidstone Museum and Bentlif Art Gallery’s collections of the Japanese Edo period (1600-1868) are amongst the best in the South East, and the third largest in Britain. They contain over 3,000 artefacts from two locally connected donations in the early 20th Century.

Walter Samuel (1882-1948), the eldest son of Marcus Samuel, Lord Bearsted of Mote House, Maidstone and founder of Shell, amassed from 1905-1923 around 390 swords and fittings such as tsuba (sword guards), 250 inro (portable medicine boxes), netsuke (toggles for inro) and 150 lacquer containers and furniture, and bronzes. The jewel of Samuel’s collection is undoubtebly 620 Ukiyoe woodblock prints by famous Edo period woodblock print masters. These include Hokusai's ‘Great Wave of Kanagawa’ and ‘Red Fuji' and a complete set of Hiroshige's Hoeido Tokaido Way series. We also have over 80 related woodblock printed books. The Samuel Collection was presented through The National Art Fund in 1923.

Henry Marsham (1845-1908), the son of the third Earl of Romney, was a retired army offi...+ [ Read all ]



Opening hours

Mon - Sat; 10.00am to 5.15pm
Sun & Bank Holidays 11.00am to 4.30pm
Closed: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day.

Getting there

By Train: London Charing Cross or Victoria to Maidstone East. 2 minutes walk through Brenchley Gardens.
Buses: call Traveline on 0870 6082608 for the latest information.
By car: Follow the brown heritage signs. Plentiful parking nearby. The museum is adjacent to the new Fremlin Walk shopping centre and multi-storey car park with over 800 parking spaces. Alternatively use the Park & Ride service off junction 7 of the M20.


The museum has partial access for people with disabilities. We are seeking funding to improve access, but in the meantime if you ring ahead of your visit our staff will provide you with maximum help and assistance.

Museum internal and external photos (1)

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