Brighton Museum & Art Gallery

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Brighton Museum and Art Gallery

After enjoying Brighton’s beach, shopping in the Lanes, and admiring the Royal Pavilion, a visit to the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery is a must for tourists. This acclaimed cultural hub, at the heart of Brighton’s Culture Quarter and nestled in the same picturesque gardens as the Royal Pavilion, offers an immersive journey into the city’s history and the broader world of culture.

Once you’ve taken in the architectural beauty around you, step inside to explore historical exhibits and diverse art collections that celebrate legacies, showcase our evolving times, and champion contemporary artists. The museum provides interactive learning experiences for children and a rotating selection of cultural enrichment for adults.

From narrating global stories to depicting social histories through ceramics, tracing the evolution of fashion through the ages, and introducing Brighton’s earliest residents, the artefacts and artworks in this vast cultural treasure trove play a pivotal role in preserving history.

History and Heritage

Brighton Museum’s history is closely intertwined with the Royal Pavilion’s story. Construction began in the 1800s under the guidance of the Prince of Wales, although it was originally intended as a riding school and stables. In 1851, it transformed into cavalry barracks, and later in 1873, it became the Brighton Free Library and Museum.

Throughout the 20th and early 21st centuries, continuous redevelopment combined Regency-era architectural features, such as intricate mouldings and original beams, with modern elements. The museum’s galleries are illuminated by ample natural light streaming through tall windows in high-ceilinged rooms, enhancing the appreciation of the art inside.

Notable figures like architects Philip Lockwood and David Beevers, in addition to the Prince of Wales, are associated with the museum’s history. Furthermore, the museum’s events, exhibitions, and workshops have linked it with prominent figures in art, fashion, and history, collaborating with luminaries like Lee Bowery, Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, and David Shrigley in the world of fashion.

view towards Brighton musuem and art gallery from the pavilion gardens

Art and Collections

In the art gallery, there is no short supply of fine art – from iconic art savants whose legacies will never be lost to history to modern pioneers finding new ways to craft striking aesthetics, it is all on display. The story of Modern Brighton is also laid out in pieces of cultural ephemera; you will discover how Brighton had to develop its progressive and tolerant ethos after the violent clashes between the Mods & Rockers. 

Even though there is nothing you can wear that is more important than what you think, Brighton Museum found an ingenious way to tell stories through curation of the clothes we used to wear. The style gallery draws on collections from 1500 to the present day. The expressions of identity collection showing queer style and alternative looks should be a priority on any fashionista’s agenda. 

The World Stories collection allows the mind to broaden as it soaks in the multicultural artefacts, which pay homage to an expansive selection of global faiths and traditions. If you want to go further back in time, the Ancient Civilisations exhibit acts as the ultimate time portal.

Visitor Experience

The Museum & Art Gallery is open from Tuesday – Sunday, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. It is closed on Mondays, except for bank holidays.

Tickets can be purchased at the door or via the Museum’s official website. If you prefer to make an online booking, it must be made one day before your scheduled visit. 

Admission fees permit entry for a whole year from the date of issue. The cost of adult admission is £9; for children, the fee is reduced to £4. Family tickets start from £13 for one adult and up to four children, and concessions are available for Brighton Residents and students studying in the city.

Currently, there are no guided tours available through the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery itself. We recommend consulting the museum’s website for a full list of the temporary and permanent collections and displays to see what piques your interest, but you can’t go wrong with the Natural Science, Community & Identity, and the 20th Century Decorative Art and Design galleries.

Special Exhibitions and Events

As the special exhibitions and events are, naturally, always subject to change, check out the What’s On page to keep up to date with freshly introduced and upcoming exhibits. At the time of writing, some of the regular exhibits included: 

  • The Queer the Pier exhibit which plunges visitors into the history of LGBT+ communities in Brighton and Hove.
  • The See the Sea exhibition; a collection of seafront-inspired artworks.
  • The Finding the Faberge collection, which exhibits rare Faberge works of art.

Plan Your Visit

Brighton Museum’s central location makes it easy to visit for tourists travelling via coach, bus, or train. The Coach station is just a five-minute walk away, and Brighton Train Station lies a 15-minute walk away.

There are no facilities for on-site parking; so make sure you plan ahead.

For accessibility information, group booking queries and other inquiries, such as venue hire enquiries, contact the museum via their website, email the info team or call the team on the phone.

Membership and Support

If, after paying your admission fee, you want to support the museum’s preservation work and contribution to the culture of Brighton, you can easily do so by becoming a member. 

 As a member of the Royal Pavilion & Museum Trust, you will receive access to exclusive events, shop discounts, and a free tour of the Royal Pavilion. Start your membership from £40 a year here.

Online Resources

The official Brighton Museum website will provide you with all the information you need to plan your visit; if you want to stay in touch with the museum, follow the Brighton Museums team on Facebook, and Instagram.

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