• Thumbs up from Tower visitors!

    Thumbs up from Tower visitors!

  • A Year in the Life of Rye Museum

    A Year in the Life of Rye Museum

  • Garden Party 2015

    Garden Party 2015

  • Sheep and others flock to Rye Museum sites

    Sheep and others flock to Rye Museum sites

  • The Huguenots of Rye

    The Huguenots of Rye

  • Remembering Brian Hargreaves

    Remembering Brian Hargreaves

  • Local Archaeology and Why it Matters

    Local Archaeology and Why it Matters


Welcome to the Rye Museum website!  There is lots to explore.  Click on a slideshow photo or the photos in the other boxes to see the whole article.  And within an article, click on a photo to enlarge it.   Just now there’s a list of upcoming events in the box at right.   Click on a topic at right for a choice of articles in that category. For other tips on using the site click  here.   For other current news keep scrolling down.

The Museum’s role in the Rye Arts Festival 2015
44th Rye Festival dates: September 11th – 27th

Waterloo 200:  a Special Exhibition.

The Museum is mounting a Special Exhibition for the 44th Rye Arts Festival which takes place Friday 11th  to Sunday 27th September: Waterloo 2oo at the East Street Museum which will be open daily throughout the Festival from 10:30 to 4:30 p.m.  (Last entry 4:00) Admission will be free, but donations will be welcome.

The exhibition will include paintings, documents and materials illustrating the Rye area during the Napoleonic era leading up to the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, a time when the area was in the front line against invasion.  Rye was a garrison town, and the Martello towers, the Royal Military Canal and other defences were built.

Guided walk around Historical Rye

Jo Kirkham,historian, former Mayor — and Chairman of Rye Museum Association,  will be guiding a walk around Historical Rye on Tuesday, 15th September and also on Tuesday 22nd September. The route will include St Mary’s Church, Church Square, the Gun Garden, Watchbell Street and Mermaid Street, focussing on Medieval and Tudor Rye.  Each walk will be limited to 15 persons, so book early!

 A Walk through WWII Rye — including a visit to the Museum

Peter Mackenzie Smith will be guiding a walk around Rye on the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, looking at life in the town and surrounding area during the war, including air raid sites, defencess against invasion, the Battle of Britain, wartime incidents and the fight against the V1.  The walk includes a visit to Rye Museum as well as lunch at the Queen’s Head.  Again, you are advised to book early as the walk is limited to 17 persons.

For more information about the Festival and how to book, go to www.ryeartsfestival.co.uk

Save these dates too!

Friday, 16th October  6:30 – 10 p.m.  East Street and the Town HallGala Evening! 
Cheese and wine at East Street followed by a double bill  performance by the Rye Shakespeare Company at the Town Hall Theatre — to raise funds to restore one of the favourite exhibits at the East Street Museum: the penny farthing.

Saturday, 7th November from 10:30.  East Street. Conference: 35-th Anniversary of the Great Plague

Meanwhile, there are new things on show  both at the Tower and at East Street.  Come see for yourself and bring your friends.

At the Museum

We’re Still Breaking Records!

We have continued to welcome record numbers of visitors both at the Tower and at East Street, such good news for a museum that is entirely independent, relying for income on an admission charge at the Tower and donations at East Street.   We  welcomed nearly 1650 visitors to East Street during the first four weeks of the season — and we are only open at weekends there! 

We would like to open East Street on some weekdays too — but for that we would welcome more volunteer stewards. Perhaps you would like to  be one?   You’d find this a very interesting and rewarding way to spend a morning or afternoon.   Thanks to a stop-and-look banner and FREE admission — and wonderful volunteer stewards — we attracted over 8000 visitors to our second site during last year’s summer season — a whopping increase in visitor numbers  of over 605%!  With your help we could reasonably expect to better that record this year.

As for the Tower which is open every day of the year and continues to be a major Rye attraction, there have been as many as 600 visitors in a single day!  We will be sharing comments in the visitors’ books with you; they make us proud.

 The WACOR book is online!

There’s a lively and informative illustrated book online showing all the projects, events, workshops, courses, memory days and discovery days of the WACOR Project in about 36 pages. A splendid summing up of two very productive years. Click here to see it.

Summer in the Medieval Garden and the  Still Room at the Tower

The medieval herb garden at Ypres Tower  is now coming into bloom and the Still Room within the Tower has  been refreshed,  thanks to our expert,  Lin Saines.   It now has a more Edwardian look including rose petal, oatmeal and lavender bath-bags, roses and a change of herbs. (It smells lovely.) Lin has added a Lavender bag with original 1940’s ladies’ ‘Rever’s’ collars in embroidered net-lace. The family who owned these machines worked Princess Diana’s lace for her Wedding Dress.  According to Lin, Victorian and Edwardian ladies  loved making sachets in home-made lace this way.

Lin’s book, The Garden Beyond the Tower, illustrated by Brian and Joyce Hargreaves and published by Rye Castle Museum, is about our Medieval Garden and the Still Room in the Tower and is available at both of our museums.

Coming Events

Check the Events Box at right for dates to add to your diary.  Meanwhile come to East Street on a weekend to see the Mapp and Lucia exhibits,  admire our new red chairs, and perhaps buy a book or two.  Titles in our bonanza children’s book collection at the Bookstall have been going fast but there are still some real bargains.

WACOR Project Videos

If you didn’t click on the Slideshow photo above of some of the children featured in the video series, do so now to see any or all of the four YouTube products of the very successful WACOR Project.  So many more people of all ages have become acquainted with the Museum and what it offers,  and learned a great deal about Rye while having a great deal of fun.  Many thanks to all those who took part and supported!

Brian Hargreaves: His Life and Work

We hope you noticed the featured post above on Remembering Brian Hargreaves. Were you fortunate enough to see the outstanding work of Brian and Joyce Hargreaves at the recent Rye Art Gallery exhibition too?  Even if you were not, a write-up of Brian’s work which accompanied the exhibition should be of interest as the Hargreaves together have done so much for the Museum — as Joyce continues to do.  Click here  (or on Brian Hargreaves under Local History at right).

 Not been to the Ypres Tower lately?   It’s certainly time to go again!

While we await the Go-Ahead for our plans for development at the Ypres Tower  so that we can have everything on one site, we urge you to revisit it as it has been transformed during the past year and the feedback from visitors is glowing!  In the main tower there’s  the wonderful new Virtual Tour  and the skeleton of  John Breads in the very  cell where he awaited his fate.  Kids love it! and John Ryan’s book Murder in the Churchyard  is on sale at the Tower.  And in the newly opened Women’s Tower with its Audio-Visual display you can  learn about life as a woman prisoner nearly two centuries ago.  You can find out more about these attractions elsewhere on this site.

There are LOTS of other additions and improvements at the Tower:  new furniture and display panels, smartened-up exhibits, better lighting, a new model of the changing shoreline . . . .

Don’t forget to admire the views from the Lookout (the balcony).  Here is a recent Marsh panorama contributed by Peter Varley.  For more views — by Clive Sawyer, click here.

Marsh Panorama

 Virtual Tour of Romantic Rye

Move around Rye without leaving your chair. courtesy Visit Rye Bay.   To go directly to the video click here. Mercifully free of chatter,  it will lead you up and down the streets, zooming in on houses, buildings, views. . .   If you’ve been to Rye can you recall where all these places are?  If you’ve not, we encourage you to come and tour the town for real.