Swansea Museum is the oldest museum in Wales. Completed in 1841, this Grade-2 listed building was commissioned by the Royal Institution of South Wales, a group of art and science enthusiasts. The building was designed to house the RISW’s array of collections as well as provide research and learning facilities. Under threat of closure, the Swansea City Council saved the building and its collections in 1996. Swansea Museum now provides free access to six galleries with a variety of exhibits from an ancient mummy’s tomb to temporary exhibitions on current issues and modern interests. The museum benefits from flat access from rear and side with disabled parking spaces at rear, thus allowing full access to all levels and galleries via the lift. Current exhibitions include 'How Jazz Came to Wales' and 'Swansea and The Great War'. Please note, due to refurbishment, the Cabinet of Curiosities and the Archaeology Room will be closed until further notice. The National Waterfront Museum is nearby.
Access to the maritime section is available in June, July and August. The museum has three boats in its collections. Helwick. Lightship 91, known as ‘Helwick’, spent much of its life warning ships about the Helwick Sandbank in the Bristol Channel. Visitors can visit most parts of the boat to see the crew’s quarters, a view into the engine room and the upper deck with its all important light. Canning . Tug boat ‘Canning’ was built in 1954. She is an oil-burning steam tug who worked from Swansea Docks from 1966. She retired to the Museum in 1975. There is no public access to Canning but she can be seen clearly from the pontoon and dockside. Olga. ‘Olga’ is a Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter built in 1909. This type of fast boat was used to take pilots out to larger ships to guide them through the difficult waters of the Bristol Channel.
The Tramshed in the Marina displays memorabilia from the former street trams of Swansea and the Mumbles tram that ran around the edge of the bay from Swansea town centre to Mumbles pier. Originally part of the former Maritime and Industrial Museum, the Tramshed on the Dylan Thomas Square is now run by Swansea Museum. This conservatory-style gallery displays memorabilia from the street trams of Swansea, including the famous Mumbles train. Large windows illuminate a double-decker tram as well as a reconstruction of the original 1804 horse-drawn Mumbles train, the first passenger railway service in the world. While the ground floor allows level access, the mezzanine and trams currently do not.
Swansea Museum’s store is housed in a historically important building on the former Hafod / Morfa Copper Works site in Landore. In the mid-nineteenth century this copperworks was the centre of world copper smelting activity, but only a few buildings are left on this site to mark this period in Swansea’s history. Popular items in the stores include motorcycles, old police vehicles, trains and tractors. You’ll also find an old fire engine and the William Gammon lifeboat, donated to the museum in 1992. She was named in memory of the coxswain of the Mumbles lifeboat, who lost his life along with the other seven crew members on April 23rd, 1947 whilst attempting to rescue the crew of the Samtampa. The Collections Centre can be found next to the Park and Ride car park, opposite the Liberty Stadium, on the Cross Valley Link Road, Landore, Swansea, SA1 2JT. Swansea Museum Collections Centre is open to visitors every Wednesday, 10.00am to 4.00pm, so the public can visit the reserve collections, including the collection from the former Maritime and Industrial Museum in Swansea. Assisatnce dogs are welcome at all the museum sites.
Location : Swansea Museum, Victoria Road, The Maritime Quarter, Swansea SA1 1SN
Transport : Swansea (National Rail) then bus. Bus Routes : 7, 8X, 58, 59, 65 and X5A stop near by.
Opening Times : Tuesday to Sunday + Bank Holidays 10:00 to 17:00
Tickets : Free
Tel. : 01792 653763