The building in which the Museum is housed was erected and endowed by Sir Norton Knatchbull of Mersham-le-Hatch in 1635 and continued as the Ashford Grammar School, apart for an interval of ten years, until a new school was opened in 1881.
It has since been restored with many of the original features of a 17th Century schoolroom remaining, including the old master’s and usher’s seats, the niches in the Walls for books and the Wainscoting carved with graffiti of former pupils.
History of museum
The Museum started with talks by local interested parties towards the late 1980’s.
Charles Oliver arranged a meeting which included the local archaeological society to see if there was enough interest. A small show of mostly photographs was arranged in the Wilks Hall and attracted over 500 visitors during the weekend.
Charles then arranged a meeting which concluded that there was a need for a Museum in the town as this was one of the few areas in Kent without any form of outlet for local history.
The Wilks Hall became available soon after when the Museum opened under Charles’ chairmanship.
Ashford Borough Museum Society
Ashford Museum is operated by the Ashford Borough Museum Society, a registered charity comprised entirely of volunteers. The Museum is managed by a Committee overseen by Trustees. The Committee and Trustees are elected by and report to members at an Annual General Meeting.
Go to the Support Us page for information on becoming a member of Ashford Borough Museum Society.
Ashford Museum is accredited by the Arts Council for England.
The Accreditation Scheme sets out nationally-agreed standards, which inspire the confidence of the public and funding and governing bodies. It enables museums to assess their current performance, as well as supporting them to plan and develop their services.
Kent Children’s University
Click here for details on our involvement with the Kent Children’s University and our other affiliations.
Ashford Museum On-line Resources
Ashford Museum has created a website to provide information about Ashford’s historical buildings and other aspects of Ashford’s Heritage. It includes an online version of the Ashford Town Centre Heritage Trail.
The site can be found at ashfordsheritage.uk
Kent Photo Archive
An increasing proportion of Ashford Museum’s photographic collection can be viewed on Kent Photo Archive