Ely Museum (c) Paul Shreeve
Ely Museum (c) Paul Shreeve
The Ely Museum is located in the old Bishop's Gaol in the heart of historic Ely. The museum tells the story of Ely and the Fens from prehistoric times to the present day. The heritage of the old gaol is recalled with original prison cells, but there are also Roman displays, fossils, and a fascinating look at the culture of the fenland, including eel catching and punt guns.

The gaol dates to the 13th century, and over the centuries the building has been used as a private dwelling, an inn, and a registry office. Much of the original 13th century prison has been restored, and visitors can se graffitti scratched on the walls by medieval prisoners. Other medieval reminders include hidden dorways and original wooden panelling.

The displays are amazingly diverse, reflecting the geography and social history of the Fens. See prehistoric fossils, Roman pottery, and Saxon jewellry, plus weapons crafted in prehistoric times. Learn about traditional Fenland craft like eel catching. Local history exhibits include the story of the Ely Riots.

See a recreated Victorian laundry and living room, and learn about the imprisonment of the Cambridgeshire Regiment in WWII. Follow the life of a land army girl and what life was like for a local policeman.

Special galleries focus on Fossils, Prehistory, Roman Ely, the Saxons, the Celts, Victorian and Edwardian Ely, and The Fens.