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History Museums

Carisbrooke Castle Museum


Princess Beatrice, youngest daughter of Queen Victoria, founded a Museum at Carisbrooke Castle in 1898 as a memorial to her late husband, Prince Henry of Battenberg.  The collection included many personal relics of King Charles I, who had been imprisoned in the castle, and well as items relating to the history of the Isle of Wight.

In 1951 the museum was moved from its original home in the gate house of the castle to the former Governor’s house.  Princess Beatrice succeeded her husband as the Governor of the Isle of Wight and one of the first things a visitor to the museum sees is a watercolour painting depicting the Great Hall as it was when the princess lived there.

Today the Carisbrooke Castle site is run by English Heritage, but the museum retains its independent status as a Charitable Trust, run by a board of Trustees.  It is the only public museum in the country founded by a member of the Royal family.  The collection includes: clothing and footwear; Isle of Wight lace; local pottery; ecclesiastical vestments and liturgical objects from St Dominic's Priory, Carisbrooke; Isle of Wight Rifles objects and uniform; domestic items; a chamber organ, dated 1602, and a large collection of paintings and photographs. 

The lower gallery is home to a permanent display of items relating to the history of the castle.  Upstairs the exhibits focus on Island personalities and history, and are changed frequently.  In 2013 there will be an exhibition devoted to the life and work of seismologist John Milne, who lived and worked on the Island following his return to the UK from Japan.  2013 will mark the centenary of his death.

For more information about the museum, including details of the Friends group and winter museum-only visits please see


A fictional review by Dorothy Davies - "The Weekly Visit to Carisbrooke Castle”