About the Museum
The County Hall, completed in 1682, is on the south side of Abingdon Market Place. It was built by stonemason Christopher Kempster, who worked with Sir Christopher Wren on rebuilding churches in London after the Great Fire of 1666.
Originally used as a courtroom for the Berkshire Assizes, the County Hall has also been a venue for entertainment and since 1761 the venue for the traditional ‘bun throwing’ to commemorate royal events. A museum was first set up in the building in 1919.
The museum re-opened in 2012 after extensive building restoration work and redisplay of the museum collections as part of a Heritage Lottery Fund project.
Volunteers are very important to our continuing success as a local museum. With an ever increasing number of visitors each year we require a strong team of volunteers to help advise and guide throughout the year. We welcome applications, to apply please collect an application form from the Museum Reception and return either by email to Abingdon.email@example.com or by post to:
Abingdon County Hall Museum
The Abingdon Museum Friends (Registered Charity No. 1137089) work with Abingdon County Hall Museum as a focal point for Abingdon’s residents and interested parties. Abingdon County Hall, completed in 1682, dominates the centre of this ancient town, once the county town of Berkshire. Its principal creator, Christopher Kempster, was one of Sir Christopher Wren’s masons. The two men worked together on St Paul’s Cathedral after the Great Fire of London. The Museum, since its inauguration in 1912, has been situated in the Sessions Hall, built to house the Berkshire Assize Courts (transferred to Reading in 1867). The County Hall was adapted and re-opened for the purpose of exhibiting a fine collection of antiquities, the historic core of the collections.
In 2010 the Museum was awarded a Lottery Fund Grant of £1.7 million. This was towards a project that was to cost over £3 million. The Abingdon Museum Friends Appeal raised over £205,000 with donations from national and local charitable bodies, local commercial firms and very many local individual donations. Together with considerable financial support from Abingdon Town Council, Vale of White Horse District Council and Oxfordshire County Council, this allowed the Museum to complete its refurbishment project. The Museum was formally reopened by HRH The Duke of Gloucester on 8th March 2013.
The Museum Friends continue to support the Museum with a mix of financial and voluntary contributions from its members. Throughout the past two years, the Museum Friends have contributed over £4,000 to assist the Museum in the purchase of; an interactive touchscreen, a silver tankard linked to the town to add to its permanent collection, as well as the provision of Covid-19 Secure systems.
The Abingdon Museum Friends raise funds mainly through membership subscriptions, as well as historical talks, quizzes, and events. If you are interested in supporting the Museum by joining the Friends, please contact the Secretary of the Museum Friends directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out more, please follow this link to the Museum Friends pages.
Abingdon Museum Friends organise regular fundraising events and contribute towards a variety of museum projects.
The museum is very grateful to everyone who has helped with fundraising, especially to the many organisations and individuals who assisted with financial contributions to match the recent Heritage Lottery Fund award to repair the building and establish new museum displays.
If you are able to help the museum, please contact the Museum Manager