Lancaster City Museum stands right in the city centre. It is in the Old Town Hall and was founded in 1923. Town Halls of one sort or another have stood here overlooking Market Square since the Middle Ages; only in 1910 did the administration move across to the new Town Hall in Dalton Square. Here can be seen the earliest evidence for Lancaster, dating from prehistoric and especially Roman times. Two topographical map models of the town in 1684 and 1821 show Lancaster's development and make a useful introduction to walk around the streets. Among the wealth of historical material are paintings and photographs showing Lancaster in former times. There are also reconstructions of scenes at various times – a Tudor man in the stocks, a medieval fishwife, and a Victorian washing-day. Kids will enjoy sitting in the Victorian railway carriage.
One Gallery is devoted to the King's Own Regimental Museum, created in 1929 and the first of its kind to be housed in a local museum. It tells the story of the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment from its formation in 1680. The Regiment was based in Lancaster from 1880 onwards. The Regimental Museum was completely redisplayed in 1997 and also has several reconstructions, including a First World War trench scene and modern combat costume, as well as one of the oldest officer's scarlet uniforms in existence, dating from the 1760s. Take your turn on the Wheel of Fortune to see what your life expectancy would have been in 1916!
Lancaster Maritime Museum was opened in the former Custom House on St George's Quay in 1985 and extended into the neighbouring warehouse in 1987. Displays deal with the Port of Lancaster and Morecambe Bay and include models, reconstructions of the kitchen of a Morecambe fisherman's house and of a fast Canal Packet boat of 1839 (you can sit in it), fishing gear, an aquarium, and four preserved vessels, ranging from 'Hannah' an open whammel boat (for salmon fishing in the river Lune) to the former Morecambe Fishermen's Lifeboat 'Sir William Priestley'. An interactive computer station allows you to 'Net the Bay' in a system linked with Fleetwood Museum. The Maritime Museum is popular with families as there is something for everyone and a very pleasant atmosphere, helped by its small coffee shop.
Both buildings are fully accessible to wheelchairs (and pushchairs!) and offer fun as well as learning.
This article was written for familyrapp by Lancaster City Council, for further information on Lancaster visit their website