These are a selection of the artefacts and/or projects that the Friends’ efforts have funded to make a difference to Maidstone’s Museums, over the past few years:

Maidstone Young Artist Awards – 2019

Friends provided support to the costs of this award, aimed at young people in Kent – £450

The theme this year was “Friends”

  • Winner – Rose Watson with ‘Flame Lilly’ – won £250 (with MMF Chairman, Mark Baker see photo opposite)
  • Runner Up – Ellie Ross-Wilkinson with ‘A Journey’ – won £100 

Next MYAA should have been in 2021 (biennial competition) but delayed to 2022 due to Covid virus

Maidstone Young Artist Award sponsored by MMF

Iguanodon Artwork – 2019

A temporary exhibition of art made from recycled objects included a model of an iguanodon made from tin cans. In view of this dinosaur’s association with the town and museum, Friends purchased this object for the collection – £400

Museum Floodlighting – 2019

External floodlighting of the Museum buildings surrounding the main courtyard of has been installed (this includes the Tudor manor house frontage). The proposal was suggested by MMF and the cost was met by Friends – £1.300

MMF Banner – 2018

Friends paid for this promotional banner covering MMF’s work, and encouraging membership. It has been installed over the stairwell in the Tudor part of the building – £1,100

New Vortex Collection Box – 2018

A new ‘interactive’ collection box for reception was purchased by the Friends – a ‘vortex’ box. The monies are received by MMF who, in turn, donate the sum to the museum  – £2,000

Medieval Grave Assemblage – 2018

To support the Museum’s acquisition of this important find in Kent. It was funded by a specific grant MMF secured from Rochester Bridge Trust. This amounted to £2,000..

Ancient Civilisations Gallery – 2016 & 2017

The Museum wished to convert a wing of the building to bring together the collections for ancient Greece and ancient Egypt, & put forward proposals for a project costing £170,000. Through the utilisation of its own reserves and by making applications to grant-giving trusts MMF raised £40,000.

New Collection Boxes – 2016

Two new collection boxes were purchased for locating in the Museums to encourage giving (donations) to the Museums’ work.  They are colourful and fun to appeal to adults and children alike.  It is made clear that money goes to the Foundation, a charity, which in turn supports the Museums.  The Friends funded both these boxes at £ ______.

Digitisation of Museums’ Floorplan – 2015

The Floorplan of the Museums (ground and first floor) was updated and reproduced.  Firstly, to reflect greater accuracy for movement and secondly to ‘digitise’ the work to make it able to be used on computers, pads and phones as well as for print.  The Friends funded the design element of the project at £1,000.

Download PDF of the Museums’ Floorplan

Arrival of a Convoy of Wounded Soldiers at Maidstone Station – 2015

Full restoration of this large oil painting from 1916 by the local artist, Frank Hyde.  Friends funded this exercise at the cost of £3,216.  It sits permanently in the Museum, & featured prominently in the WW1 exhibition – ‘Coming Home’ – from September 2016 to January 2017.

Stands for Oriental Vases – 2015

The impressive Chinese vases stand in the window of the Museums’ “glass room” and can be see even by walkers in adjacent Brenchley Gardens.  The Friends funded safety stands for these two ‘monsters’ at £984.

Education – 2013

Payment of grants attracted by MMF from ACE (£12,500) for the purpose of funding education salary costs.

Hirado Exhibition – 2013

Contribution of £950 towards “Treasures from Hirado” exhibition.

Audio-Visual Equipment – 2012

This equipment was, and is, essential for schools’ visits to the Museums – it comprises two kiosks and 19” touch screens with stereo facility, plus software.  The Friends met the £7,000 cost.

Japanese Manuscripts – 2012

These valuable artefacts were re-purchased, having previously been stolen from the Museums.  Friends met the £600 cost.o.

Museums’ East Wing Extension – 2011

This extension extends the area for displays, storage, and meetings together with improved climatic conditions – important for the borrowing of artefacts.   The total cost was £ 3.7M, of which the Friends contributed £194,106 through grant receipts.

Display Cabinets – 2011

The Museums had an opportunity to acquire good second-hand display cabinets from the Victoria & Albert Museum.  The Friends met the cost of £3,600.


Napoléon’s Chair – 2010

This chair, owned by Napoléon Bonaparte when on the island of St Helena, needed restoration work.  The Friends met the £580 cost.



Speed Atlas – 2008

This atlas of the British Isles, undertaken by John Speed, dates from the 17th Century.  It needed restoration and the Friends met the £750 cost.