Visit > Museum and archive > Museum Collections

Museum Collections

The Royal Greenwich Museum Collections began in 1902, and today are made up of thousands of objects and artefacts including geology, natural history, social history, archaeology, prints, and paintings.

Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust is entrusted with caring for the Royal Borough of Greenwich's museum collections and archive.

The museum collection began on 28th May 1902 with the donation of four cases of geological specimens. Today the collection, housed in a temperature controlled store, is made up of thousands of objects and artefacts including geology, natural history, social history, archaeology, prints and paintings. 

The Borough Museum first opened its doors to the public in 1919 and for many years visitors would marvel at the weird and wonderful - from exotic birds and antiquities to humble Victorian egg whisks. The collection includes a diverse range of artefacts whether Georgian tankards, Roman finds in the borough, or fragments of pottery collected along the Thames foreshore. Some of the oldest pieces in the museum collections date from the Roman period while more recent acquisitions come from the London 2012 Olympics.

In 2019, the Museum Collections and Local History Archive were brought together under one roof with thousands of images of the borough as well as geology, natural history, paintings, prints, and drawings: a vast and wonderful collection representing Royal Greenwich's rich history.

Archaeology

Our archaeology collection contains finds from many digs in the local area, including pottery from 1974’s Woolwich Old Ferry excavation, Anglo-Saxon relics found in Shooters Hill, and stained glass from the ruined Lesnes Abbey.

Ancient Rome

Included among our archaeology finds are several items from the Ancient Roman occupation of London (then Londinium). Found in areas from Greenwich Park to Charlton, these dishes, tiles, and fragments lead archaeologists to believe that the Greenwich area was one of particular importance for the Romans.

Ancient Egypt

Our several Egyptian artefacts, some of which were donated to Plumstead Museum in 1913 by Dr Sidney Davies, date back to 1450 BCE.

Natural History & Geology

With specimens covering thousands of years, our natural history and geology collections explore the animals and insects that have made Greenwich their home over the years and the land they have lived on, as well as the diverse hobbies of Greenwich residents.

Paintings

Our painting collection varies greatly in both size and medium, preserving many interpretations of Greenwich as well as the work of artists who have lived and worked here.

Social History

From sports equipment and toys to furniture and home appliances, our social history collection informs us on how people have lived in Greenwich through the past half millennium.

Replicas

Over the years, we have brought many replicas into our collection to allow direct handling and play in our community, learning, and school programmes. To learn more about these programmes, please visit our Learn pages.

Collections Development Policy

To view and download our Collections Development Policy please visit our reports, plans and policies page by clicking here

Contact us

All Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust sites are temporarily closed to visitors. For any enquiries during this time, please email us directly at office@rght.org.uk. Please be advised that our team works between the hours of 9am and 5pm.

Enquire