Abingdon County Hall Museum has been showcasing the history of Abingdon and the lives of its people for 100 years. Visit us to find out all about Abingdon and why we are the oldest continually inhabited place in England.
Abingdon County Hall Museum
Abingdon Museum was founded in 1919, when three citizens of the town offered their private collections as the foundation of a public museum. The first Museum Committee was established in 1920, and the displays were laid out in the County Hall, which is home to the museum to this day.
The founding collections were dominated by geology, palaeontology and archaeology, but they soon expanded to include anything relevant to the history of Abingdon: tools and weapons, toys and games, clothes and shoes, relics of Abingdon Abbey and examples of modern trade and industry. Two of our star exhibits demonstrate the span of the collections: the fossilised skeleton of a Jurassic Ichthyosaur, and an MGB Roadster made at Abingdon’s MG factory in 1980.
The County Hall
The County Hall, completed in 1682, was built by the stonemason Christopher Kempster, who also supplied much of the stone from his quarry at Burford. The first floor was the courtroom for the Berkshire Assizes, and the arcade in front of the building was used as a market hall.
The building was also used as a venue for entertainments, such as plays and balls. When Abingdon ceased to be the County Town in 1867, the building had no dedicated use until it became the local museum in 1919.
Since then it has been refurbished and redesigned several times. It opened in its current state in 2012, after extensive rebuilding and redisplay of the collections.
Abingdon Museum Blog
Abingdon Museum tells the story of the town from the earliest Stone Age settlers to the modern market town it is today. But there are many more stories which cannot be told through the displays.
On this blog we want to share these stories with you. We would like to tell you things that maybe you didn’t know. We will narrow the focus on a single object or to widen the view onto the historical context of an event. We will introduce you to famous and interesting people connected to Abingdon and highlight some historic curiosities. We will give you a window onto the life of the museum and share the experiences of staff and volunteers.