The Museum is located at the heart of Wells along the western edge of Cathedral Green, between the Cathedral and Vicars Close.
The museum is jam packed full of all sorts of exciting exhibits for all ages.
The Balch Gallery is currently housing a unique collection of artefacts, the bulk of which were collected on and around Mendip. Balch, during many years of excavation at Wookey Hole Caves, discovered a large number of Stone-Age tools, and an impressive collection of Iron Age artefacts, as well as the skull of a brown bear.
A main feature of this display is a large photo panorama of the first chamber of the cave, with the “witch’s” bones sensitively displayed. Other artefacts found with her are also displayed.
The Netherworld of Mendip is a new, permanent exhibition at the museum portraying the fascinating world of caves that lies hidden beneath the Mendip Hills, and charts the development of caving and cave diving that has led to their discovery and exploration. The exhibition covers exploration up to the present day, including the magnificent find last year of the largest known underground chamber in Britain in Cheddar Gorge.
In the first room, a series of illustrated panels - Follow the Stream - tells the story of the caves at Priddy and the 150 year quest to follow their underground streams to Wookey Hole, where the combined waters emerge as the River Axe. Swildon’s Hole, Eastwater Cavern and St. Cuthbert’s Swallet now comprise many thousands of metres of varied and often beautiful passageways and chambers, but the link with the flooded passages in Wookey Hole has still to be made.
Jurassic sea dragon
A two metre long skeleton of a Jurassic sea dragon - an Ichthyosaurus - dominates the entrance lobby of the Museum. This ichthyosaur lived during the Jurassic period (200-150 million years ago) when a warm sea covered Somerset. Indeed Somerset has been an important source of ichthyosaur skeletons, and Street deserves to be as famous as Lyme Regis, where Mary Anning found the first (fairly) complete ichthyosaur to be fully studied by scientists in 1811.
The Ichthyosaurs were a long-lived group swimming the oceans of the world for almost 100 million years. They evolved in the early Triassic (about 245 million years ago) extending through the Jurassic period, and into the late Cretaceous period (about 90 million years ago). They were air-breathing, fast swimming sea reptiles, somewhat like dolphins.
8 Cathedral Green, Wells, Somerset, BA5 2UE
Telephone: 01749 673477