A fascinating and unique collection of collections brought back from travels across Asia, Africa, India and South America by some of Kent’s great explorers.

A snapshot of a bygone age, a time when the British explored, surveyed and plundered the far reaches of the globe.  From a flamboyant Reverend to a great diplomat much admired by Jane Austen, these explorers travelled the globe undertaking ground breaking and arduous journeys largely in the name of research and discovery.

Some of their treasures made it back to Canterbury and are housed in this stunning gallery befitting their significance.  Also on display are remarkable finds from excavations of Ancient Egypt and Anglo-Saxon Kent, alongside rare Ancient Greek art and souvenirs of The Buffs (East Kent Regiment).

HandThis is a Family Friendly Gallery!

Location First floor, The Beaney
Activities for Adults Object handling, Microscope exploration
Activities for Children Drawing and Investigating

Explore the Collections

Our ‘Wider World’ case in our Explorers & Collectors gallery features two gold plated knives, bought back from Africa by a Royal Navy officer called Boteler. Part of the navy’s mission was to suppress the slave trade and Boteler’s ship captured several slave trading ships during the voyage. Collected in 1821-1826, the small dagger in […]

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  Found isolated and alone in the Kentish soil, and now residing in The Beaney is a creature so legendary it has been part of folklore since early antiquity. Made from gold and reduced to miniature, the creature’s small size does nothing to diminish its marvel. In Old English (or Anglo Saxon, from whence this […]

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In Ancient Egypt Mummification was not limited to humans. From snakes and beetles to hippos and crocodiles, the Ancient Egyptians mummified all sorts of different creatures. Cats, being sacred, were not excluded from this.

Many cats were mummified in the city of Bubastis, the centre of worship of the cat goddess…

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Dating from about 850 AD, The Canterbury Cross has acquired widespread fame as a symbol of the Church of Christianity throughout the Anglican world. Discovered in 1867 during excavations in St. Georges Street, Canterbury, it incorporates a number of sophisticated techniques into its Saxon design.

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One of the gallery’s great collections was bought to us by a man named Stephen Lushington.

Described by Jane Austen as a “man of taste” who she ‘liked very much’ Lushington was a local Member of Parliament and Governor of Madras in India (1791-1803). On his return to England he became Member of Parliament for Canterbury, holding the seat from 1812 to 1830…

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Antiquarians, then archaeologists have been exploring Kent since the 18th Century. Their most outstanding finds were Anglo-Saxon items dating from the 5th to 8th centuries. At this time Kent was an independent, wealthy kingdom with continental connections…

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