The Museum is housed in one of a group of late 17th century buildings overlooking the Exe Estuary. Visitors can enjoy the furnished period rooms of the original Merchant?s House and the Sail Loft with displays giving a timeline of the town?s general history. Much of the Museum?s focus is on Topsham?s maritime history, with its role as a trade port and ship building centre. Exhibits also include unique historic river craft, local trades and organisations, wildlife of the Exe Estuary and memorabilia of the film star Vivien Leigh.
Topsham Museum was established in 1967 by Dorothy Holman. It started in the sail loft attached to the original merchant?s house. The displays initially showed aspects of her family?s shipbuilding background and the collection grew as people donated items of local interest.
On her death in 1983, Dorothy Holman left her property to Exeter City Council to be used as a Museum for Topsham. The Museum reopened in 1986, run by the Topsham Museum Society, a group of local volunteers. Expansion and development have been funded by a Heritage Grant, grants from Exeter City Council, from the Museum Society and by other donations. Entry to the Museum is free and running costs are met by the proceeds of our excellent tea room and gift shop, donations from visitors and from fund raising events run by our numerous dedicated volunteers.