Your museum

The Museum tells the story of Sheringham and its proud people, from our boat hall and our unique collection of lifeboats, historic fishing boats to seaside stories, local crafts and tales of fisher folk. There’s the colourful shops of Shannock Street. We take you from the local fossil beds and tales of fossils and mammoths, through the centuries of changes – a fishing village into a Victorian resort town, and through two world wars right up to the creation of the Sheringham Shoal wind farm.

Our Collections

Start with the breathtaking Boat Hall, showcasing our unique collection of lifeboats, alongside historic fishing boats and seaside stories. Peer into a fisherman’s cottage, see and hear about the miracles of boat-building and the many crafts and traditions of everyday fisher-family life.

On the first floor you will find the colourful shops of Shannock Street, two changing exhibition galleries and the Sheringham Shoal Wind Farm Visitor Centre – designed by one of the teams behind the Science Museum. You’ll find out about the remarkable Upcher family of Sheringham Park. Our Olive Edis gallery features the photography, life, and achievements of this amazing woman. Sheringham has the distinction of being one the first towns in Great Britain to have been bombed from the air, using items from the collection we illustrate the story. from the gantry there are spell-binding views of the lifeboats below.

Our second floor houses a rigid inflatable Atlantic 75 class inshore boat, purchased on its retirement and generously donated to the museum by the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows. This floor also provides our summer exhibition space, our education area and our members’ Research Room.

There is a lot to see at Sheringham Museum – this hardly touches the collection. The history of the town is rich with stories of brave lifeboatmen, amazing women, explorers, great musicians, artists, scientists, minor royalty, sportsmen ….. come and let us tell you about them!

Special viewing arrangements:

We have many thousands of artefacts in our collections and many delicate items are held in environmentally-safe archival storage and only displayed from time to time. This practice enables us to carry out documentation, research and conservation work and also present changing exhibitions to improve your experience. If you have an interest in seeing items from a specific collection, please contact the museum by email so that we can make mutually agreeable arrangements.

Featured collections include:

Lifeboat and Fishing Collection

Sheringham is the only known place in the world to possess five of its original lifeboats with a continuous service span from 1894 through to 1990. Four of these lifeboats are housed in the Museum.

The Trust also owns three traditional fishing boats built in Sheringham by local craftsmen. There is a video about our Lifeboat collection here and one about our collection of fishing boats here.

The Ellis Pratt Collection

A collection of working tools, consumer items and other artefacts from a local saddler, leather worker and general retailer whose business existed in Sheringham from the late 1880s to 1990.

Tom Armes

A collection of original drawings and paintings of the Sheringham area, by the artist Tom Armes (born 1894 – died 1963) who lived in Sheringham.

The collection includes several of his works used as advertisements by British Rail.

Olive Edis

Award-winning photographer, world traveller, music critic, and a much-respected community member – she lived a very full life. Olive Edis (1876 – 1955) was based in Sheringham and operated a photographic studio here for about 50 years, here she made portraits of everyone from princes, prime ministers and poets to local fishermen.

She toured Canada on a commission from the Canadian Pacific Railway and was the only one of 71 shortlisted photographers to visit WW1 battlefield sites to record the work of women’s services on behalf of the National War Museum, now the Imperial war Museum.

We have some original works plus copies of others in a fantastic collection, with a recreation of her studio were you can take photographs of each other in her distinctive style.

Hewitt Collection

The Hewitt Collection (1906-1926) consists of some 750 glass negatives and 300 glass lantern slides charting the social life of a local family.

A social record of costume and family activities and five family scrapbooks filled with ephemera and clippings.

Gansey Collection

The Gansey Collection of fishermen’s woollen sweaters. Traditionally the Gansey or Guernsey is a hand-knitted (or later machine-knitted and hand-finished) garment made for fishermen who required warm and hard wearing clothing that would resist the sea spray.

Find out much more about Ganseys in our Textiles collection here.

John Craske

John Craske (born 1881 – died 1943), from a Sheringham fishing family, produced primitive paintings and embroideries.

The museum collection of his work includes a painting on the lid of a ‘bait box’.

You can see our film “The Ballad of John Craske” here.

Mick Bensley

Mick Bensley (born 1944 – died 2023)  is an artist who was born and brought up in Sheringham, he now lives in Brighton but still produces work associated with Sheringham and lifeboat history.

The museum has a collection of paintings and prints including dramatic rescues by Sheringham Lifeboats, beach and local scenes.