Ely Museum tells the history of Ely and the surrounding area from prehistory to the twentieth century across two floors of permanent displays and a programme of changing temporary exhibitions.
Ely Museum’s Deed of Trust was signed on 8th December 1972, and with much voluntary support Ely Museum opened on 25th April 1975 in rented premises of the former Choir School in the High Street. The Dean and Chapter of Ely Cathedral substantially repaired these premised in 1985, which allowed the museum’s fast-growing collection to be redisplayed.
In April 1997 the museum then moved to The Old Gaol, Market Street. The former Bishop’s Gaol was renovated by East Cambridgeshire District Council at a cost of £245000; the Trustees of Ely Museum raised £14,000 for the collections display and a further £6000 was provided from the Frederick Vernon Cross Charity and other sources. 2270 hours were provided by volunteers to assist with the re-display and move. The Trustees now occupy the building on a 50 year lease, at a peppercorn rent, from East Cambridgeshire District Council. In 2014 the museum Trustees became a Charitable Incorporated Organisation.
Ely Museum is registered with the Charity Commission (formerly no. 274253, now no. 1156024) and it holds full status under the Arts Council Accreditation Scheme (no. 776).