Ilfracombe museum was founded in 1932 by professional museum collector Mervyn G Palmer, who spent many years in South America studying and collecting the wildlife and archaeology there. When he retired to Ilfracombe he discovered that the town lacked a museum, and so he formed a committee, and Ilfracombe museum was opened to the public on the 1st August 1932.
Thousands turned up that day and many of them brought objects to donate to the growing museum collection. Eighty-four years later and Ilfracombe museum is still amazing visitors with its unique and eclectic collections. It is a museum that reflects the Victorian passion for collecting, and also Ilfracombe’s importance in the history of British sea-side resorts. There are eight rooms filled with treasures including drawers of butterflies and insects from Britain and South America and artefacts from India, Africa and the ancient world. Two rooms are dedicated to local maritime history and Lundy island. Ilfracombe museum is unique and family-friendly. Children can explore the insect, bat and spider specimens, have a go at a dinosaur quiz, send Morse code messages, or have a go at brass rubbing.
Visitors with disabilities will find the museum is accessible to wheelchairs (except for one small room). For researchers there are extensive photographic and family history resources for Ilfracombe, including original town newspapers The museum is a perfect all-weather attraction and can be found next to the Landmark theatre on Ilfracombe sea-front. It is an independently funded charity. Children under 16 FREE, £3 for adults, £2.50 concessions. Annual ticket £5.00. Open everyday April – Oct 10am – 5pm.