A popular rainy day attraction, the Hastings Museum and Art Gallery holds a diverse range of displays relating to local history, as well as a selection of artifacts from other parts of the world. Local wildlife, famous figures and Native Americans are among the varied topics covered in the displays. Examine fossils and animal dioramas, learn about local personalities and view a replica log cabin and tepee at the Native American display.
Steer the kids toward the fascinating dinosaur exhibit to view preserved rock footprints and dinosaur bones. Browse the displays and try to imagine how the Sussex wilds would have appeared back when dinosaurs roamed them more than 110 million years ago.
Other exhibits focus on the legacy of Hastings’ locals, such as John Logie Baird, the inventor of television. Learn about Baird’s early experiments and how they led to the first transmission of a television image.
The museum also contains a fascinating collection of Native American objects, including a replica of a log cabin belonging to Grey Owl. This famous fur trapper-turned-conservationist was born in Hastings, but immigrated to Canada and adopted a Native American identity. Look for props and costumes from Richard Attenborough’s film Grey Owl, which starred Pierce Brosnan. Other prominent local figures remembered here include Robert Tressell, an Irish-born author who lived in Hastings.
While here, stop at Durbar Hall adjacent to the museum. Built in 1886 for the Indian and Colonial Exhibition, its design is based on a typical Indian royal residence. Venture inside to marvel at the elaborate woodcarvings and grand décor. Exhibits here showcase relics from the Indian subcontinent. The hall is occasionally rented out for weddings so check ahead to see if it will be open during your visit.
The Hastings Museum and Art Gallery is open Tuesday through Sunday with free admission. Opening hours vary depending on the season. Find the museum on High Street in Hastings' Old Town. Parking is available outside the museum.