The Wimbledon Museum of the John Evelyn Society first opened its doors to the public in 1916, in a room kindly provided by the Wimbledon Village Club. For the story of our early days click here. More than 100 years later we are still in the same place, treasuring our traditions, but getting ready for a new phase.

We had planned to refurbish the museum in 2021. Now, because of the continuing uncertainty surrounding Covid 19, we have decided not to reopen this autumn, but rather to begin at once to rethink and redesign.

The Museum has unique and interesting collections, relating to life in Wimbledon since the Iron Age. You can find out more about them here. Our surveys show that visitors and non visitors alike feel that it is important to have a local museum (100% of replies in both categories). The present displays date from the 1990s. They won prizes in their day, but are in need of a makeover. The Society had been planning to close the museum for this purpose from March 2021. As a result of the uncertainties surrounding the Covid 19 pandemic, we decided not to try and reopen the museum this autumn, but rather to make an early start on this exciting project.

We have had a wonderful stroke of good fortune as we start out, with the recruitment of our Project Lead, Jane Allen. Jane was in charge of heritage at Sutton Council.  She was responsible for the stunning Whitehall Historic House project in Cheam, and the creation of the Honeywood Museum in Carshalton. Having very recently retired, she has agreed to take on this role as a volunteer.

A Design Group (Jane, Asif Malik, Pamela Greenwood, Jacqueline Laurence) has begun the process of recruiting a professional project manager, and a designer, and we hope that successful candidates for both roles will be approved by the Wimbledon Society Board, and in post, early in the New Year. Meanwhile, Pamela, and her curatorial and conservation team, are preparing for the huge task of clearing all the objects out of the museum and safely into storage, which will hopefully be done by the end of December.

In January we will begin to plan our new displays. We want the new museum to take inspiration from our wonderful collections, to look at them in new ways, and to find new stories to tell through them. We want to represent the histories, and lives, of everyone who lives in Wimbledon.

As well as fresh exhibits, we want to create a new space for activities, which we hope will attract families and young people. We hope the new museum will be an exciting and vibrant place. Our aspiration is to create a space a bit like the Reading Room at the Wellcome Centre, with fascinating exhibits in a welcoming, accessible and inspiring environment.

We estimate that the cost of the refurbishment will be about £150,000.  The Wimbledon Society has provided £89,000, including £4,000 raised by last years wonderful Dinner Dance. We have also received a donation from the Wimbledon Foundation. A further Fundraising Campaign will be launched in 2021.

If you would like to find out more about the project, please send us an email at museuminfo@wimbledonsociety.org., or follow us on instagram

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Our Collections

Our treasured collections relate to life in Wimbledon from about 500,000 years ago right up to the present.

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Choose from a wide selection of publications cataloguing Wimbledon’s rich and vibrant history.

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