One of the UK’s leading independent Museums, the River & Rowing Museum has over 114,000 visitors a year.
The Museum opened in 1998 to celebrate the River, the international sport of Rowing and the town of Henley-on-Thames. From 2004 a fourth permanent gallery, the enormously popular Wind in the Willows exhibition, was added. In 2017, following a successful crowdfunding campaign in partnership with the Art Fund, the John Piper gallery was opened, celebrating the life and work of this internationally renowned artist. Working closely with organisations in the local area, the Museum has recently opened a Community Gallery which showcases a wide variety of local projects.
Running a lively programme of temporary and visiting exhibitions, the Museum works with partners such as the National Portrait Gallery, the V&A and the Hayward Gallery in London. The Museum offers a broad calendar of activities including lectures, children’s workshops and family events. Twice shortlisted for Family Friendly Museum of the Year, the Museum is a registered educational charity. The dedicated education centre runs innovative education programmes and the Museum welcomes over 20,000 children and adults who take part in a variety of fund and inspiring learning events and workshops.
Situated alongside the river in Henley-on-Thames, the building, designed by the acclaimed architect Sir David Chipperfield, was designated Royal Fine Arts Commission Building of the Year in 1999. The oak, glass and steel design combines the influence of local boathouses and Oxfordshire barns with a strong modernist approach and was described by him as a ‘resolution between convention and invention’. A registered charity, the Museum depends upon private donations, business sponsorship, grants from trust and foundations, admission charges and the support of our benefactors, donors and friends.
The museum has delightful café with a terrace overlooking Mill Meadows, and a shop specialising in children’s books and games, fashion and craft.