Looe Old Guildhall Museum and Gaol
OLD GUILDHALL MUSEUM & GAOL
Great News for all our Visitors
Looe Museum reopened to the public on May 17th, and we are now allowing people into the museum as walk in visitors, rather than using our booking system.
We are all volunteers in our museum and occasionally the museum has to be closed due to illness and volunteers not being available.
Monday, Thursday 11am - 4pm
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday 11am - 1.30pm
Please note that we will be suspending our online ticket sales from 12th June and will be using our usual walk in system only. We will monitor very carefully how many people we allow into the museum at a time, ensuring the safety of all of our visitors. All tickets that have been purchased after the 12th June will be honoured and are noted in our diary and our volunteer museum manager will email you.
Our new Smuggling Immersive Cabinet was installed in time for the reopening of the museum on May 17th. The display looks at the history of 'free trade' in the area, and the arguments for and against it. This will be followed at the start of July with the installation of our Looe Island AR model, which will take you back to the year 1160 guiding you round the Island with a Benedictine monk and a visiting pilgrim.
Thanks to PLB, Falmouth University Digital team, Cornwall Museums Partnership and the Coastal Community Wave grant for making all of this possible.
As you can imagine we are very excited about having visitors into our museum again. The maximum number of visitors allowed in the museum will be 10, but we will monitor this according to each group.
Children are given colouring in sheets, a free bookmark and museum leaflet, and we are selling museum guides round the museum for £1 which include lots of extra photographs of Looe in the past
COVID precautions are in place and remember your masks please for adults.
All are very welcome, including dogs on a lead!
The Museum Volunteers
The Old Guildhall Museum and Gaol is contained in a 15th Century listed building with a fascinating display of Looe’s past.
The building itself is a marvellous exhibit on its own, as it retains many of its Medieval features, with ancient cells and the original raised magistrates bench, complete with the Royal Coat of Arms, from when the local court was held there.
With exhibits from the Bronze Age to the modern day, there’s no shortage of things to look at, domestic equipment, 17th century porcelain, regalia, model boats, the remains of a WWII US bomber and much more besides, including a large archive of old photographs.
The museum is spread over two floors and you enter into the upper floor of the building, which from 1587 to 1878, was the East Looe Town Hall and Magistrates Court. Beneath the magnificent timber-framed roof, laws were made and enforced, and the town was administered by the Mayor and Corporation, known as Burgesses.
Downstairs, you will find more exhibits, plus the two cells used to hold the criminals of Looe in the past. This really was a case of 'send them down' from the court above.
Reviews from our visitors
A brilliant and holistic time capsule of Looe.
Your volunteers are so helpful and informative - thank you for all your help, and although your museum is small, it is packed with the stories of Looe's past. Keep up the good work!
'How many museums are there like this? The range of artefacts and 'props' is amazing for such a small building. Virtually the whole historic period is covered and with special emphasis on the History of Looe. Just as importantly, the staff (who are all volunteers) are superb. For the £2 admission you could while away one or more hours.'
We felt so safe and our children had a wonderful time reading the court plays and acting them out with their Dad. Fantastic museum volunteers who were so helpful.
'I know it is a museum but I really felt I was going back in time. Not like a modern museum but more like you are close to the real Looe of old. They seem to be volunteers sharing what has been collected from the local people. Thank you.'
'A huge mine of information, and extremely interesting if you have the time to look and learn. Worth visiting more than once as you will see different things each time.'
'This stone-built building in the centre of Looe has at various times been the local gaol, the Magistrates Court and the town's Guildhall; now, it is the Town Museum and a good one it is as well. The entrance is guarded by a cannon and once inside, you realise what a treasure-trove of objects and exhibits are on show. You enter up a flight of exterior steps directly into what used to be the offices of the East Looe Town Hall and the Magistrates Court, this being on the upper floor.
We loved the Court plays and the whole family got dressed up and acted out all five plays. What a great way to involve our whole family young and old.
‘Such wonderful guides full of passion and knowledge