The museum building consists of two main parts:  a Grade II listed, two storey range of stone and brick construction which is best known for housing the Bishop of Ely’s gaol from c.1679 until 1836, and a modern (1997) single storey extension, which houses the museum’s Vernon Cross Room (meeting and education room). The site also encompasses a paved yard, which was used by the felons for their exercise.

Within the Grade II listed area of the museum are nine galleries, telling the story of the Isle of Ely and surrounding district from the Jurassic to the 20th century.  The collection (approximately 4000 items), largely donated by local people, consists of a wide-ranging selection of objects made of contrasting materials, such as bone, wood, metal and pottery.

Galleries include:

Formation of the Fens

First Inhabitants

Romans and Saxons

The Fens

The Littleport Riots and The Old Gaol

Victorian and Edwardian life in Ely

World Wars