Museum History

Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum was founded by Dr Richard Fowler in 1860 and was for many years located in St Ann’s Street in the city. The core of the collection was the drainage collection – an incredible collection of medieval finds recovered from the old water channels in the City which were replaced with sewers in the 1850s.

Alongside the Salisbury Museum there was also the Blackmore Museum, founded by Salisbury business man Mr William Blackmore to house the Squier and Davis collection of archaeological finds from the ‘pipe’ mounds of Ohio, USA. The Blackmore Museum was opened in 1867 and was managed by the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum.

The collections of the Blackmore museum were later dispersed to other museums in the 1930s and 1960s. The Blackmore museum name was removed in 1968.

In 1981, following a successful public appeal, the Museum transferred to its present home, The King's House, a Grade I listed building in Salisbury Cathedral Close.  On moving to The King’s House the Museum was able to develop eleven new galleries, eight for permanent displays and three for temporary exhibitions, with ancillary services to meet the needs of the remainder of the 20th century.

In 2000, looking to the future, it began to upgrade its galleries. By 2002 the Temporary Exhibition Gallery and Stonehenge Gallery were renewed, the latter receiving a commendation in the Association for Heritage Interpretation ‘Interpret Britain Awards 2001’.