Culture & History 18 May 2022

8 Museums to Enjoy on The Islands of Guernsey

There are so many different galleries and museums across the Islands of Guernsey.

There is nothing better than wandering through an island museum filled with quirky items and fascinating facts, so we’ve picked out eight for you to bookmark for your future visits to the Islands.

GUERNSEY MUSEUM AT CANDIE

Guernsey Museum houses permanent exhibitions showing the archaeology of Guernsey, treasures from around the world and the folklore of Guernsey, with an art gallery showing 200 works of art. These are running alongside temporary exhibitions that change throughout the year and the Discovery Room for families, housing a Cabinet of Curiosities, old-fashioned games to play and the very popular ‘Timewarp’ that changes each year. There is also a public art space run by the Arts Commission which shows a rolling programme of local art displays, a café and a gift shop, all housed within the restored Victorian Candie Gardens where you can enjoy fantastic views over the harbour and see the statues of Victor Hugo and Queen Victoria.

German Occupation Museum

Located within walking distance of the island's airport, the German Occupation Museum provides a unique insight into life in Guernsey during the occupation from 1940 to 1945. The museum is complete with an authentic recreation of an occupation-era street, exhibitions on maritime history and Second World War fortifications.

The Sark Museum

The Sark Museum documents the wide history of Sark spanning several centuries, with two museums in one. The museum houses an eclectic mix of Sark cultural and heritage memorabilia, from historic photos of rural Sark and its buildings of interest, to details of the attempted takeover of the island in 1990. The museum also boasts a popular and important collection of World War II memorabilia, capturing the island’s unique and challenging war experience as shared by the islanders, British and German people at this time.

Alderney Museum

Alderney has a museum located in the Old School House on the High Street and is run by the Alderney Society. It houses many fascinating displays including an Elizabethan shipwreck, one of the most important marine archaeological finds in the British Isles, as well as a whole host of other items from the island’s history from the Stone Age all the way through to the modern day.

It also houses the original Womble soft toys, donated by the author's family together with memorabilia donated by people on and off island. Elisabeth Beresford, the author of The Wombles, lived in Alderney permanently from 1978 until her death in 2010, and the island was very special to her. Visitors can browse through a scrapbook of stories and photos and play the CD specially recorded for the exhibition by Bernard Cribbins, the voice of the Wombles.

National Trust of Guernsey Folk & Costume Museum

The Folk and Costume Museum is housed within a cluster of meticulously renovated traditional buildings set within the largest public park on the island, Saumarez Park, less than 15 minutes from the town centre of St Peter Port. The museum gives visitors the opportunity to learn about the history of Guernsey’s people over the past 250 years. Displays tell the story of daily life for those at home, at school or working in one of the local industries. Costume lovers will enjoy special exhibitions from our nationally acclaimed costume collection. Selections from any of the 8,000 pieces held by the museum are on display throughout every season.

La Vallette Underground Military Museum

This museum covers Guernsey's military history, including World War One and the German Occupation of the island from 1940 to 1945 during World War Two, as well as the island's own militia. Set in a complex of air-conditioned tunnels that were built by German forces as a fuel storage facility for their U-Boats, the museum is near La Vallette bathing pools and features various military and occupation memorabilia. For those interested in the German occupation of Guernsey, La Vallette Underground Military Museum offers a wide variety of exhibitions, displays and information on this time. The museum also houses various displays and militia collections from World War One.

Hauteville House and Gardens

One of the most popular attractions on the island, Victor Hugo’s island home is something to marvel at, even just for the stunning views alone. For fourteen years, Hauteville House was home to famous French writer Victor Hugo during his time in exile from France. Hugo spent his time here writing his masterpieces, including Les Miserables, as well as decorating the house with meticulous detail. Every room is filled with touches of his personality and shows a fascinating insight into his creative mind.

The Guernsey Diamond Museum

It isn’t all history and culture in the museums on our islands. Learn how to choose the perfect stone for you and become a diamond expert from carat to cut, clarity to colour. You will be able to learn to spot a quality diamond in the rough. Nestled safely in the old John Tanns bankers vault, The Guernsey Diamond Museum gives a fascinating insight and practical guidance into the world of diamonds. Find out the gemstones rich history, including mystery, scandal and superstition, along with expert tips and information on picking out diamond jewellery.

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