Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens is a municipal museum in Sunderland, England. It contains the only known British example of a gliding reptile, the oldest known vertebrate capable of gliding flight. The exhibit was discovered in Eppleton quarry. The museum has a Designated Collection of national importance.
It was established in 1846, in the Athenaeum Building on Fawcett Street, the first municipally funded museum in the country outside London. The first recorded fine art acquisition was commissioned by the Sunderland Corporation, a painting of the opening of the new South Dock in 1850. This may have been the first time that an artwork was commissioned by a town council.
In 1879, the Museum moved to a new larger building next to Mowbray Park including a library and winter garden based on the model of the Crystal Palace. U.S. President Ulysses Grant was in attendance at the laying of the foundation stone by Alderman Samuel Storey in 1877. The building opened in 1879.
During World War II, Winter Garden was damaged by a parachute mine in 1941 and was later demolished with a 1960s extension taking its place, but in 2001 a lottery funded refurbishment of the Museum created a new Winter Garden extension and improved facilities.
The Winter Gardens contain over 2,000 flowers and plants.