Rye Museum Association

What is the Rye Museum?

Rye Castle Museum is a small independent accredited museum that receives no government or council financial support.  It relies for its income on visitor receipts, subscriptions,  fundraising by members of the Rye Museum Association and from any successful grant applications.

Rye Castle Museum exists to provide access to an Scheduled Monument (the Ypres Tower or Rye Castle) and a collection of artifacts –presently housed  at a second site on East Street–that reflect the history of the Ancient Town of Rye;  to ensure their continuous conservation and development; and to  promote them to residents and visitors of all ages so that they can appreciate and understand the unique character of Rye and its surrounding landscape.

Heritage Lottery and EU Grants have made it possible to develop and maintain our Rye Castle and East Street sites as well as to restore the Women’s Tower of the Rye Castle complex and open it for the first time in its history with displays relating to women and children in Rye.  Our ongoing commitment is to continue enhancing these iconic attractions, to the benefit of both the Museum and the town of Rye.

What is the Rye Museum Association?

The Rye Museum Association is a private limited company and a Registered Charity which

  • operates at two sites in the Town, opening both to the public: the Ypres Tower (Rye Castle) and 3 East Street
  • undertakes the care and preservation of the Ypres Tower, a Scheduled Monument
  • undertakes the care and conservation of the various collections that are held by the Company on permanent loan from the Rye Museum Trust
  • undertakes research into all aspects of Rye’s history and wherever possible makes this information available through the Association’s website
  • undertakes a wide ranging education programme for children and adults
  • undertakes fund raising and social activity programmes

We invite you to join the Rye Museum Association, an entirely voluntary organisation.  We need your support—and there are benefits and opportunities for you.

Why join?

Membership gives you unlimited free admission to the Ypres Tower and East Street Museums on production of your membership card. These are some of the other benefits:

    • You pay less when you come to Museum talks
    • You receive the Rye Museum and Local History Group Journal with articles about the fascinating history of Rye:  the factors and events that have shaped it;  its role in the defence of England through the ages;  the occupations, pursuits, customs– and idiosyncrasies– of its people,  the  stories of its streets and buildings, –to mention just a few examples.
    • You are kept up-to-date on the Association’s events, activities and projects with a monthly email newsletter
    • You have opportunities to help in the continuation and development of the Museum and Rye’s Local History
    • You have opportunities to meet many like-minded people with an interest in Rye’s amazing history.

membership leaflet is available for you to print out.  This includes a  Gift Aid Declaration form;  Gift Aid increases the value of your membership fee or donation by 28%.

Ways you can be involved

Stewarding:  Welcoming visitors at East Street and talking to them about Rye and our exhibits.  Our visitors come from far and wide and like talking to local people.  Have a look at the Visitors’ Book and you will see how much stewards are appreciated!

Collection care and development:  Helping with the Museum collection:  cleaning and simple conservation under the direction of our Conservator, Linden Thomas.

Research and Website Development:   Increasing our knowledge of the items we hold and of other aspects of Rye history. Writing, editing, selecting illustrations for our website and our journal.

Education:  Helping with school visits to the Museum, improving the collections of artefacts which go out to schools, visiting schools, devising new activities for young visitors to the two sites, organising Discovery Days and Children’s Activity Afternoons…..

Fundraising and Social Events:  Helping at events such as talks, coffee mornings, craft fairs, the Christmas Grotto and other special occasions where we need people to decorate, organize stalls, welcome, serve food and drinks . . . .


Small independent museums also rely on legacies from their supporters.  The amount may be as much or as little as you decide.  When you are drafting or revising your Will, please think about leaving a charitable legacy to the Museum.   It can, if you wish, be made towards some specific project or aspect of the Museum’s work, or for additions to the Collection.  Whatever you decide you can be sure it will be very much appreciated and your name will be attached to the outcome of the project, work, or objects purchased.

Should you wish to discuss aspects of legacies with the Curator or one of the Directors do please contact us for an appointment..  All such matters will be treated in the strictest confidence.