St Barbe Museum, Lymington & Local History & Heritage

Local History and Heritage at St Barbe Museum

A reflection about what's so special about St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery in the heart of Lymington


Updated January 2016


A new look for our centre of history and heritage?


watercolour impression new look st barbe jan16



St Barbe Museum has been in the news recently with its proposed modernistic new look complete with controversial wavy wall.  Comments from local "Lymingtonians" range from the outraged to the positively excited and will continue to flow, we're sure.  But for locals and visitors alike St Barbe continues to serve us brilliantly as it encapsulates the history and heritage of Lymington and the New Forest itself.


And the existing St. Barbe Museum continues to be a cultural treasure in the heart of Lymington in New Street which, like many attractions identified as important destinations by tourists, tends to be overlooked by locals.


Let’s see if we can tempt a few more locals to go & discover how good it is, at the same time as attracting new visitors too.


St Barbe Museum offers a totally unique window into the past of our beautiful area & our very special heritage.


The museum was originally established to tell the special story of the coastal strip between the New Forest & the Solent. The colourful, hands-on displays in the museum help all ages to discover & understand Lymington’s development as a market town & port, as we see & read about the lives of the smugglers, salt makers & boat builders who have used the Solent shore in times gone by.


St Barbe also brings first class art exhibitions to Lymington


It’s our privilege to be able to view right on our doorstep, work of national & even international importance on loan from their respective collections. As well of course as a constantly evolving showcase of the very best of our treasury of local artists.


These fabulous exhibitions, of birds, trees, landscapes, people, which in our experience just get better & better, explore lots of different aspects of the unique history of Lymington & the New Forest Coast. They include some beautiful artworks of enormous depth which cause you quite literally to stop, stand & stare in awe, just as you would at the National Gallery!


The Thelwell exhibition was very special - Norman Thelwell was himself a very local hero.  norman-thelwell-rodeo





A particularly splendid exhibition - War Horse


The War Horse spectacle in early 2014 was fabulous and really brought home the uniqueness of St Barbe as a centre for the arts and a focal point of our local community too.  It was a special exhibition for the centenary of the outbreak of the First World war, which followed horses from peacetime occupations to active service. It really brught to life the enormous contribution of the magnificent horses to the war effort, often at great sacrifice to themselves.


As well as paintings by various well known artists this exhibition also featured new work - by students at Priestlands School Lymington! It was accompanied by a special schools’ programme in partnership with the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton, to mark the arrival of the National Theatre’s production of War Horse at the Mayflower.  And it occasioned a special visit by Michael Morpurgo himself as well as Joey in larger than life reality.




The museum is a fantastic family destination combining education with fun


There are various acitivites on offer for all ages, throughout the year. Games, objects to handle, contraband to find, pilot boat to navigate, costumes to try on, educational - & fun. Also family friendly facilities like plenty of places to sit & talk, & steps for children to be able to see the exhibits better. And, it’s all right on our doorstep - easy to fit in to busy people’s time slots.


There’s also a helpful local visitor information service at the museum, staffed by a team of local volunteers, who are incredibly knowledgeable & well informed. Plus, a great gift shop - well worth remembering at Christmas & for other occasions when a less obvious, more special, & treasurable, present is required.


St. Barbe Museum is an independent organisation governed by Lymington Museum Trust, a registered charity. As well as offering so much, it also needs our support!


There’s far more information on the St Barbe website which is kept up to date with details of all that’s going on right now. To view plus opening times & prices (which are incredibly reasonable) visit


St Barbe Museum & Art Gallery, New Street, Lymington, Hampshire, SO41 9BH


By, February 2014


Your message here