Discover the story of the Wells Cathedral stonemasons and see original medieval masonry alongside Victorian copies for the Great Exhibition of 1851.

Explore hidden gems of natural history and archaeology in the museum's hallways and corridors. 


The museum's historic building contains several hallways and landings which are full of fascinating artefacts. Downstairs you will find an eclectic mix of displays, from agricultural equipment and Roman lead 'pigs' to an intricate miniature shop based on the former Halliday's premises in Wells. 


Not to be missed is the Adams Collection of butterflies and moths, housed in a cabinet tucked away in one of the downstairs corridors. Donated in 1966, a number of the species in this important collection are now extinct. At the rear of the museum you will discover the moving story of Harry Patch, the "Last Fighting Tommy". Be sure to visit the Harry Patch Memorial on the museum's front lawn. 


The Statuary Exhibition on the stairway and landing follows the story of the early stonemasons of Wells, and you will find displays downstairs which explore their tools and techniques. Wells Cathedral was constructed between 1175 and 1490, and the cathedral craftsmen were an integral part of the city of Wells. The magnificent West Front of the cathedral, unmissable as you walk across the Cathedral Green, is a wonder of the medieval world. The museum displays several of the original medieval statues, as well as copies that were created for the Great Exhibition of 1851. Learn about the surprisingly vibrant colours that would have adorned the West Front, and follow the tale of the medieval fruit thief, immortalised in stone as a warning to the masses.

The Statuary Exhibition was opened in June 1995 by HRH The Prince of Wales, pictured below with Jim Hanwell, then museum trustee and Chair of Wells Natural History and Archaeological Society.


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Opening Hours
Tuesday // 10am - 4pm
Wednesday // 10am - 4pm
Thursday // 10am - 4pm
We are currently operating reduced hours following the COVID-19 lockdown. Opening hours will be regularly updated. 











Registered Charity 200738

An Optical Illusion

This carving of King Athelstan is a copy of the original on the West Front, created for the Great Exhibition of 1851. The reason for the unusual shape of the statue only becomes clear when viewed from below...