Museums and galleries
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Basingstoke and Deane is home to three museums, each offering something different. Milestones brings the county's more recent past to life, with its 19th and 20th century street scenes. The Willis Museum provides an overview of the town's history and Whitchurch Silk Mill is the last working mill of its kind in the south.
You can find out more about each of these museums below.
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Milestones - Hampshire's living history museum
The county’s more recent past is brought to life at Milestones, Hampshire’s living history museum, located one mile west of the town centre. The sheer volume of visitors makes it one of the most successful attractions in the south, offering nostalgia and providing dynamic interactive experiences for children. The vast hi-tech structure of this award-winning museum houses a network of 19th and early 20th century streets.
Thousands of authentic bricks, slates and tiles have been used to create a network of life-size street scenes, complete with period houses and even a working pub. Factories and industrial buildings are also striking features, representing important local manufacturers, such as Taskers and Thornycrofts.
A team of collections specialists and designers have transformed the street scenes with around 20,000 individual items. These include a range of vehicles, from large steam engines to commercial vehicles, as well as smaller social history objects, detailing the technology and industry of Hampshire’s vibrant past.
With the help of demonstrators dressed in period costumes, Milestones recreates everyday life for the townspeople in a fun and accessible way.
Milestones receives grant funding from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.
For more information on events and opening times visit https://www.hampshireculturaltrust.org.uk/milestones-museum or telephone 0845 603 5635.
Milestones, Leisure Park, Churchill Way West, Basingstoke, RG22 6PG
The Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery
Named after local clock maker George Willis, who established the collection in 1931, the Willis Museum explores the town's history, from its archaeological past to the more modern development experienced during the 1960s and 1970s.
The museum is home to the impressive Sainsbury Gallery, which hosts a range of high-profile exhibitions throughout the year. The museum also offers a year-round programme of family events and community exhibitions.
The Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery receives grant funding from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council
For more information about what's on and opening times visit https://www.hampshireculturaltrust.org.uk/willis-museum or telephone 01256 465902.
Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery, Market Place, Basingstoke, RG21 7QD.
Whitchurch Silk Mill
South-west of Basingstoke and situated on Frog Island in the River Test, the small market town of Whitchurch offers a wonderfully unique attraction. Whitchurch Silk Mill is the last working mill of its kind in the south of England and was originally used to produce silk for Burberry raincoats and legal gowns.
It now functions as a working museum, making silks for interiors and costume dramas. Open throughout the year, visitors can watch the working waterwheel, hear the late 19th century looms weaving silk and view the costume exhibitions. The riverside garden is particularly pleasant for coffee and homemade cakes from the Mill's cafe. And you can buy silk produced at the Mill from the gift shop.
Whitchurch Silk Mill receives grant funding from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.
For more information about opening times, admission fees and what's on visit www.whitchurchsilkmill.org.uk or contact 01256 892065.
Whitchurch Silk Mill, 28 Winchester Street, Whitchurch, Hants, RG28 7AL.