Gallery Opening which took place on 2nd March 2012

Amongst those attending were Peter Morgan, Vice Chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council,  Simon Hart, MP, Carol Whittaker from CyMAL, Les Crascell, Chairman of the Friends of the Museum, members of Pembrokeshire Rotary, members of the Inner Wheel, Soroptomists and many other friends and supporters of the museum.  Pictured are Jamie Owen, Kathy Talbot Honorary Curator and Peter Morgan, Vice Chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council.



Robert Recorde Display – Inventor of the Equals (=) Sign

Recently refurbished stairwell










Tenby In Two Words

Tenby In Two Words












Story of Tenby

  • History
  • Research

The Story of Tenby Gallery traces the history of the town from the 9th century through to the present day. The refurbished gallery features bilingual interpretive panels, photographs and artefacts from the museum’s collections as well as a Kid’s Corner where children can enjoy doing drawings and quiz sheets.

In the gallery you can learn about Henry Tudor’s legendary escape from the town, discover which Tenby born mathematician invented the equals (=) sign, read about the decline and growth of the town as a resort, uncover Tenby’s exciting involvement in the lead up to the D-Day landings during World War II, learn about the time when pigs roamed the streets and find out exactly what the dramatic building is on St Catherine’s Island. There is also the chance to see how the town has altered since 1586 from a painting by Eric Bradforth and model by John Horne and provides the history of St Mary’s Church, the Civil War and the plague and other fascinating tales from the ebb and flow of Tenby’s fortunes.

Highlights of the gallery include a 19th century Minton Monk’s Rock meat plate, a 19th century Penny Farthing high-wheeled bicycle, a John Speed map of Pembrokeshire from the 17th century and a Cap-a-Pie suit of armour.

The museum is grateful to Tenby Town Council in assisting with the purchase of a large showcase.

A ten minute film in this gallery gives a fascinating insight into the growth of Tenby as a tourist resort and features moving image, postcards, photographs and reminiscence from the museum's collection. There is a Youtube link to this film below.

There is also a hands on display for children entitled Become A History Detective. Funding for this was provided by the Friends of Tenby Museum and Port of Milford Haven.

The museum is also grateful to the Federation of Museums and Art Galleries in Wales for financial assistance with the interpretive panels in this gallery.

The Story of Tenby on YouTube
You can even try a spell in our stocks if you wish!


Robert Recorde was born in Tenby c1510, the son of Thomas Recorde, Mayor of Tenby in 1519. At the age of 15 Robert went to Oxford University and after gaining a B.A. and probably an M.A., he was elected a Fellow of All Souls College in 1531 teaching mathematics. Robert then went to Cambridge where he continued his studies and became a Doctor of Medicine in 1545. Here he taught astrology, explained cosmology and illustrated geometry and music.
Recorde's book The Whetstone of Witte, published in 1557, is the first book where the modern equals (=) sign was used.
He died in 1558 in King's Bench Prison, Southwark.

The display on Robert Recorde is housed in an area which also shows a recreated Antiquarian's Study based on the collections of Rev. Gilbert Smith, whose collections formed the basis of the museum's original collections in 1878 and a Cabinet of Curiosities featuring some of the more quirky items housed in the museum. Work is currently underway on creating a changing display space for natural history collections in this area.

The foyer now houses a small maritime exhibition.

The stairwell area features displays on Dylan Thomas, Roald Dahl and Tenby born filmmaker Kenneth Griffith and includes two original one-sheet film posters, a book signed to Griffith by his friend the actor Peter O'Toole and numerous items of personal memorabilia .

This area also houses the piracy display where children can dress up as a pirate and the Sedan Chair, conserved in 2012 with assistance from the AIM Conservation Grant scheme supported by Pilgrim Trust and the Friends of Tenby Museum. See if you can spot the raven in the pirate display!

THIS GREAT AND NOBLE UNDERTAKING is a 75th anniversary exhibition on D-Day and explores Tenby's part in this historical event as well as looking closely at the broader story. A film with local veteran Ted Owens is a poignant reminder of what these soldiers went through. Artefacts in this display have been provided by the History Shed Experience.


This site-specific artwork began life in the Easter of 2013. It is a display that asked viewers to respond to the question: what two words remind you of Tenby?
After receiving over 200 responses from visitors and local people who visit the museum, each two words were numbered so the order you are looking at is from first to last.
The colours of the words relate to a palette created from a photograph taken looking through each window. So the existence of sky, sea, sand and grass can be witnessed in the shades of each word.
There is an accompanying painting which is located on the ramp railings near the entrance to the museum. This piece provides a picture of each two word description. The visuals were located on Google image and the most relevant was used in the form of a line painting. The word ‘Tenby’ was also used in the description so each image has a local link.

The artist would like to thank everyone who gave words, and in turn, life to this series of paintings.

Tenby in Two Words is on display in the Story of Tenby Gallery.