Maidstone Museum & Bentlif Art Gallery
Our Japanese gallery will be closed to the public from Monday 9th to Friday 20th November inclusive, as we are installing an exhibition in this area. We are sorry if this causes disruption to your visit.
November 21, 2015-February 20, 2016
The Scottish Mask & Puppet Centre presents a beautiful and quirky collection of masks and puppets from around the world, including favourites like Punch and Judy, Japanese shadow puppets, commedia dell'arte leather masks, and film animatronics.
Welcome to Maidstone Museum
Maidstone Museum is home to a vast collection of fine art and historical artefacts of international importance and is free to all visitors. Founded in 1858 as the Charles Museum - after local Doctor Thomas Charles bequeathed his art and antiquities to the Borough Council in 1855 - the museum is housed in Chillington Manor, a charming Elizabethan Mansion in Maidstone town centre.
With over 600,000 artefacts, Maidstone Museum enjoys the prestige of possessing one of the largest collections in Kent, and is renonwed as being one of the best museums in the South East. Among the most auspicious collections at the museum are those relating to Archaeology, Costume, Ancient Egypt, Ethnography, Biology, Fine Art, Geology, Local History, and Japanese Decorative Arts and Prints.
Bentlif Art Gallery
Within Maidstone Museum is the Bentlif Art Gallery, an extensive collection of watercolour and oil paintings donated by the Bentlif brothers. In addition, the renonwed Queens Own Royal West Kent Regimental Museum is located on the premises, proudly documenting the history of the QORWK and its predecessors since the mid-18th century.
Events and exhibitions
In addition to the permanent collections, Maidstone Museum regularly features temporary exhibitions and collections over the course of the year. These high-quality and diverse touring collections ensure that there is always something new and exciting to discover on your visit to the museum. We also offer great exhibitions for hire, as well as exhbition space to rent in our Café Gallery.
A packed calendar of events, activities, and workshops take place at Maidstone Museum, ranging from hands-on childrens' workshops to tours and talks suitable for all ages. Our schedule of Museum Late activities, meanwhile, provide an even greater insight in the exhibits, collections, and culture of the museum, as well as offer a fun and convivial atmosphere to meet the team and mix with other visitors.
Maidstone Museum is a fantastic place to come for a group visit. Whether it's as a family or on an organised tour, don't miss the opportunity to experience the fun and interactive tour with the museum's mascot, Spike. Via one of our iPads, Spike - an Iguanodon - will join you as you discover more about the museum's history and collections.
Want to support the museum?
There are many ways you can help support the museum. From donations to volunteering, joining the Maidstone Museum Foundation to applying to one of the job vacancies available, becoming an integral part of the Maidstone Museum team is simple.
If you're interested in making use of the Museum's Enquiries/Identifications Service, Object Acquisition Programme (Donations), or are simply looking to conduct research relating to our collections, visit our advice for collection enquirers page today. We'll be delighted to answer any questions you may have and help support you in your enquiries.
Maidstone Museum & Bentlif Art Gallery, St. Faith's Street, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 1LH