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Open from 10am - 5pm Monday to Sunday. You can pay for admission on arrival at the museum.

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Southampton Stories

Step through Southampton’s rich and diverse history.

Southampton Stories tells the stories of people, events and activities connected with the city across different themes. Using items from our museum collections, the exhibition showcases both momentous occasions and the often forgotten day-to-day activities that contribute to the heart of the city’s culture.

This exhibition will guide you through the varied elements of Southampton’s historic timeline up to the present day. From Southampton at War, to the integral role sport and leisure has always played in Southampton life, as well as shipping, the docks, trade and different community groups, you will see firsthand the stories that make Southampton the city that it is.

Southampton Stories features a fascinating collection of ship models, maritime records and monuments, historical costumes, artwork, photography and recordings. Learn how these important artefacts (and the tales they tell) paved the way for the city we live in today: one bursting with culture, history and opportunities.

High street WW2
Learn about Southampton through the ages and the events that have contributed to our present day.
Woman and child walking through war exhibit
See a wide range of artefacts spanning more than a thousand years and take an almighty step back in time as you absorb the city’s historic stories.
Southampton stories - Covid 19 exhibit
Enjoy short or more in depth stories within the exhibition, which are regularly changed to mark anniversaries or feature topical subjects

Did you know?

  • More than 2,000 Sotonians died in the First World War and the port saw over 8 million troops pass through – including their horses, supplies and equipment. 
  • Southampton Football Club has been an integral part of city life since its foundation way back in 1885.
  • From the launch of the first great ocean liners at the end of the 19th century to the rise of the mega-cruise ships of today, Southampton has always been at the forefront of the liner industry. It’s what helped us gain our nickname of ‘Gateway of the World’.

Latest new exhibit

Sugar, Politics and Money: Southampton’s links with the transatlantic slave trade

Although Southampton was not a hub for the transatlantic slave trade in the same way that Bristol or Liverpool were, many of its residents prospered from the exploitation of enslaved people, particularly in the Caribbean.

In this exhibition, you can see some of the artefacts and documents that can help us uncover this story, including a map of a sugar plantation in Nevis, owned by a Southampton resident and equipment excavated from the site of the Sugar House, near the High Street, where Caribbean sugar cane was processed for use in local homes and businesses.

Discover the stories of Ellen and William Craft and other formerly enslaved African-American abolition campaigners, who visited Southampton in the mid-1800s.

Woman and girl outside Sea City Museum

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