Guildford Museum is located at Castle Arch House (and three adjoining buildings) which it has shared with the Surrey Archaeological Society since 1898:
- Castle Arch House is a mid 16th century house built into the ruins of the west gatehouse of Guildford Castle;
- the 1911 Gallery is a purpose built arts and craft style extension;
- the Muniment Room, a twentieth century infill building
- 48 Quarry Street, an 1835 town house.
The 1911 Gallery was built as an extension to Castle Arch House specifically so that it could accept and display the collection of cottage life material that Gertrude Jekyll, the renowned garden designer and author had amassed during her ramblings in rural Surrey and had donated to the Surrey Archaeological Society.
The Surrey Archaelogical Society started the museum on this site, before its operation was taken over by Guildford Corporation in 1933. Today they run their office and reference library from Castle Arch House.
The museum collection numbers about 75,000 items. It covers:
- Surrey-wide archaelogy, from the prehistoric to the 19th century
- social history, including material from Guildford trades and industries, for example, Dennis vehicles and the Friary Brewery.
- textiles including a large number of smocks, fine needlework and lace from the 17th to the 19th century and work by the early 20th century embroiderer and author Joan Drew.
The collection mostly is a record of the development of Guildford and Surrey and includes a number of items that are of exceptional significance. It provides a warm welcome to visitors and a place to discover the history of the county and county town of Surrey.
In addition to its permanent displays, the museum organizes special exhibitions, events, and educational activities for schools and school holidays.
Further information about the museum is available on http://www.guildford.gov.uk/museum
Coffee Time Talks - 2021
This is a series of free talks organised at the museum or Guildford House by Melanie Holliker. The talks are planned to restart in Autumn 2021 after being suspended as a result of the pandemic.