Herne Bay Museum – Herne Bay, England - Atlas Obscura
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Herne Bay, England

Herne Bay Museum

Beachcombers have been populating this museum with artifacts ranging from prehistoric to barely historic since the 1930's. 

The seaside town of Herne Bay in Kent, England has been seeing rare and intriguing items wash up on their shores, or be uncovered from their land for hundreds of years, and since the 1930’s, locals have been collecting the most fascinating specimens to form the Herne Bay Museum, which features everything from mammoth tusks to World War II bombs.

Originally the project of local doctor Thomas Bowes who set out to collect and preserve some of the many ancient pots and fragments that were being discovered by local builders, the collection of artifacts was soon kept together over the local library by the Herne Bay Historical Records Society, which who eventually form into the Herne Bay Museum. The collection of items continued to grow, and the museum itself was opened in 1939, before moving to its current location in 1996. Among the notable items that have been added to the collection over the years are a number of fossils and preserved fragments of mammoth tusks, a collection of turn-of-the-century beach gear and attractions, and famously a piece of World War II artillery known as a “Bouncing Bomb.”

In addition the collection of rich cultural history on display at the museum, there is also now a gallery on the site as well that hosts rotating exhibitions from local artists. Unlike many towns, Herne Bay makes sure that visitors are aware of their rich history, all the way back to the mammoths.