Situated on the River Anton, a tributary of the Test, the historic town of Andover boasts two museums in the same building; Andover Museum, telling the story of the town and surrounding area, opened in 1981, it was joined in 1986 by the Museum of the Iron Age which tells the story of nearby Danebury hillfort.
Grade 11 listed, the building started life as a Geogian townhouse in the mid 18th century. Evidence of this can be seen in the fine staircase, wood panelling and decorative fireplaces. In the 1840s, the building was purchased by local philanthropist Martha Gale who gifted it to Andover Grammar School. The brick extension that houses the Museum of the Iron Age was added in the late 1880s.
Starting on the ground floor, the galleries reveal the importance of the local geology and natural history of the area, the all important chalk streams and the abundance of flint, used to form stone tools.
The first floor galleries continue the story, starting in the Neolithic era and finishing with Andover in the 20th century.
Situated across two floors, the Museum of the Iron age tells the story of Danebury hillfort which lies to the south west of Andover. The hillfort was excavated by Professor Sir Barry Cunliffe between 1969 and 1988 and is one of the best-studied sites of the British Iron Age.
Discovered in 1972, this beautiful mosaic floor decorated the main room of a Romano-British villa in the nearby village of Fullerton.
With the help of grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and a number of local supporters, the mosaic was purchased and lifted by a team of specialists. After appropriate conservation work, it was installed at the museum during 2009.
The museum has a small café selling coffee, speciality teas and delicious cakes and a gift shop showcasing local crafts, scarves, jewellery and cards.