Visitors can see examples of local history drawn from the soil beneath our feet by archaeologists over many years.
The Easter School Holidays will soon be upon us, Willis Museum is a wonderful place to soak up our local cultural history with the youngsters.
Hampshire Cultural Trust curates and cares for the art and museum collections owned by Hampshire County Council and Winchester City Council. These extensive collections mainly relate to the historic county of Hampshire as it was before the 1974 local government reorganisation of county boundaries but there are also items from further afield, particularly in the decorative arts, biology, geology, social history and industrial history collections.
What can you expect to see there?
Archaeology, interesting material evidence of human existence and industry in Hampshire from 500,000 years ago to WW2 unearthed during research excavations, rescue archaeology, field-walking and stray finds.
Arts, fine art, sculpture, ceramics, glass, metalwork, historic dress and textiles, toys, horology - the science of measuring date and time, firearms, maps and books that represent the cultural life of Hampshire from the medieval period to the present day.
Historic Photographic views of Hampshire and local people dating from the 1850’s to the present day. The collection holds over 250,000 photographic prints, negatives, glass-plate negatives, lantern slides, and transparencies.
Natural Sciences, biology and geology specimens representing Hampshire’s natural environment.
Social and Industrial History, Objects and information that tell the story of everyday life and work in Hampshire, mainly from the 19th century to modern times tracing the changing patterns from a rural to an urban economy.
Items of special interest include,
Embroidered Casket 1655
This 17th-century casket is a superb dated example of a specific type of female dressing table and travelling box. It was used to store personal possessions and treasures, for a girl who lived a life of some luxury in Oliver Cromwell's Commonwealth.
Beetle Wing Tea Cosy 1885 - 90
The iridescent 'sequins' on this Victorian tea cosy are the wing cases of beetles, carefully hand sewn in place and then trimmed with gilt metal thread embroidery.
Sack-Back Polonaise Gown and Petticoat c1770 - 75
A glorious, hand-sewn, 18th-century late rococo gown in the form of a sack-back dress, styled as an open robe, with its own original matching outer petticoat.
Wedding Cake 1898
The cake was displayed in the window of C H Philpott bakery, Basingstoke until it closed in 1964. It was donated in 1996. A large crack in the icing, believed to be the result of wartime bombing, has been repaired.
The Tichborne Spoons 1592
This set of twelve spoons once belonged to the Tichborne family of Tichborne Park near Alresford. Such spoons are most often topped by figures of the Apostles, but uniquely this set depicts Christ, St Peter, Queen Elizabeth I and a group of historic and legendary heroes known as the Nine Worthies.
The Best of Basingstoke.