Godalming Museum has around 25,000 items in its collections representing over a century of collecting by local people. About 8,000 of these are objects; 9,000 are archive materials (records used in running a business, organisation or household); 6,000 are photographs; and another 2,000 are books and periodicals in the Museum's Local Studies Library.
Together, these items form a record of the Godalming area spanning 115 million years - from fossilised creatures which swam in what was then sea, through earliest dated evidence of human activity 50,000 years ago, to objects and records from more recent centuries. The latter form the bulk of the collections and one large group of this material is termed 'ephemera'. These (often paper) items were never meant to be kept beyond their immediate period of usefulness: tickets, ration books and coupons, advertisements, labels, event programmes, auction catalogues and so on. People of Godalming and the surrounding area are not alone in their habit of hoarding such things which give a picture of everyday life and past events. Other objects were deliberately collected by local historians and archaeologists. One historian, Percy Woods, gathered information rather than flints or fossils. His books on the 'Godalming Hundred' trace centuries of local family histories and land, building and estates records, which he spent much of his lifetime researching and copying. This collection of books is part of the Museum's library and is available for use during normal library opening hours.
Many people have donated a wide variety of material helping to create a unique record of the area and making Godalming Museum's collections an important and special resource.
The exhibits chosen to be displayed here have been grouped into six themes, which are shown on the left. There is also an occasional selection of items that have been chosen by the Curator and written up in the Museum's newsletter under the heading Object of the Month.
To see a full index of the items displayed on this website, click here
Click on the title or image
to see details of the exhibit