St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery

The St Barbe Museum and art gallery invites visitors to explore and learn more about the New Forest and Lymington area of Hampshire through the ages. Since opening in 1998 the museum has developed a name for itself as playing host to one of the most interesting and exciting exhibition programmes on the south coast.

The museum focuses on the social history of the Hampshire area, primarily basing exhibitions and gallery showings related to the Lymington, Boldre, New Milton, Milford-On-Sea, Barton, Sway and Hordle areas. A range of photographic collections, prints and original drawings tell the story of the people, events, stories, places and iconic businesses both past and present.

The St Barbe museum houses hands on displays appealing to all ages and interests, charting the development of the area in its capacity as both a market town and a port. Stories of smugglers, boat builders, gypsies and salt makers who have used the area are told in vivid detail plus may exhibitions with works borrowed from national and regional collections.

The Timeline Gallery takes visitors from the present day all the way back to prehistoric times, and tells of international and local events which helped shape the landscape and community to become what it is today.

The Main Museum Displays look back at the people, activities and industries that helped the Lymington area of Hampshire thrive as a town and port through the ages.

The Sea To Land exhibition reveals the surprising past through a world famous fossil collection, revealing an area once covered by a sub-tropical sea home to sharks, whales and alligators - fortunately a very different story to modern day!

Sea Fishing reveals the methods used by local people over the years, and how they have adapted their fishing methods the changing environment of the Solent and Channel waters.

The Sailing the Solent exhibition will appeal to those interested in the boating and yachting communities over the years, and uncovers traditional boat building methods and practices. This museum exhibition includes a traditional Lymington scow, a type of flat bottomed boat often used to haul freight.

The Boat Building area includes a full size pilot boat complete with lights, radar and wheel. Here the museum looks at famous boat builders including Thomas Inman who built the boats Alarm and Arrow for Captain Joseph Weld who was born in 1598 and was noted for his participation and negotiations of the Pequot War of 1637.

The Marsh and Mud museum exhibition looks at how the local salt marshes were changed from the leisure area of local sportsman to a nature reserve. It features an original gun punt used for wild fowling in the creeks and shallows of the Solent.

The Tale of Two Towns unveils the development of both Lymington and New Milton through the ages. Lymington became a thriving market town and port after being granted its charter in 1200. Milton remained a quieter area up until the development of the railway in 1888, the 'New' being added in 1897.

These are just some of the wide range of exhibitions and displays at the St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery. As a quality assured visitor attraction visitors of all ages can enjoy the museum and what it has to offer.

Philip Loughran writes on a number of subjects from travel to law, automotive to education. For days out in Hampshire and things to do in Hampshire he recommends Hampshire Museums.