From its origins as an Iron Age trading centre to Anglo-Saxon glory, the last journey of Jane Austen to the hunt for King Alfred's remains, explore the sights and sounds of Winchester past and present in the museum's three galleries.
There are plenty of hands-on activities for all the family to enjoy during your visit. Become an amateur archaeologist and handle real artefacts, turn detective and solve our museum spotter trail, or why not pretend to be a Roman or Saxon and try on the costumes they would have worn? Throughout the year, we run a programme of fun, family-friendly events, too!
Start your trip to the museum with the Winchester Model, a breathtaking scale model of the city in Victorian times. Be transported back in time to the city's Victorian streets with our film, then find out more about the model, the buildings it depicts and the people who worked and lived in them using our interactive tablets.
After seeing the model, retrace the last days of Jane Austen. Jane travelled to Winchester in May 1817 to seek medical help, and on 18 July of the same year, aged just 41, she died at 8 College Street and was buried in Winchester Cathedral on 24 July. There are only a handful of items that survive today that actually belonged to Jane. On display at City Museum - just short walk from her Cathedral resting place - are two of her purses and her personalised ivory spool case.
On display in the Winchester Gallery is the original maquette - a small scale model - of Hamo Thornycroft's iconic statue of Alfred the Great, which was unveiled on Winchester's Broadway in 1901, the 1000th anniversary of the great king's death. There are also fascinating stories to discover about many of Winchester's tradespeople, including Dickie Frost, who was also one of Britain's greatest ever amateur cyclists.
During Saxon times, the old name for Winchester was Wintanceaster. In the gallery dedicated to the 1000 years of history spanning the Anglo-Saxon and medieval periods, are four impressive models showing how the city grew and developed. Jewellery in the Winchester Art style, sculptures and silver coins sit alongside more everyday objects including a child's leather shoe and a medieval mayor's wooden toilet seat.
By the 3rd century AD, Winchester, or Venta Belgarum as it was known, was the fifth largest city in Roman Britain. The Venta Belgarum gallery tells the tale of Roman Winchester. Here, you can discover how its inhabitants lived and died, view a near-intact moasic discovered at Sparsholt Roman Villa, see exquisite Roman jewellery and look into the face of a man who died in Winchester 1700 years ago.