The collections originated in the 1980s when Mary Taylor a local resident born and brought up in the village first started documenting the history of Rustington in several books.

The research for these books created such a vast amount of material relating to the history of Rustington that it was suggested that this material should be collected, preserved and made more accessible to the local community.

The collections now consist of approximately 6,000 objects including local and social history objects, fine art and decorative art objects, costume, photographs and postcards, archaeology, archival documents and records all relating to Rustington.

The museum collections are formed of material collected by Rustington Heritage Association and more recently by Rustington Parish Council. All items donated to Rustington Museum are added to the Parish Council collection.

Rustington Museum Collections

The Collection


The Rustington Heritage Association (RHA) started their collection in 1994. When the Museum moved to Church Farm Cottages in 2009, the Parish Council took the collection on loan, which meant it was responsible for its acre. The RHA continued to expand the collection through donations and purchases, always keeping the link with Rustington and its residents.

In 2013, the Parish Council started it’s own collection and both collections now sit alongside each other in the stores and in exhibitions.

World War 1 and World War 2

The Museum collection has many items relating to both world wars. They cover the Home Front and the front line. Ration books, embroidered cards and even shrapnel can be found in the collection.

Many of the items are personal, such as photos. All have a story to tell.


There is a large collection of postcards showing views of the village over time – approximately 300 of them!

We are working on having them all scanned and available to for viewing. Do come and see what we have

Click on the images below to see them full size.

Art and Music

Rustington has been home to several artists and composers. Sir Hubert Parry lived at Knightscroft House and the Belleroche family made their home in Old Manor. The collection holds examples of their work.

The Museum also collects work by local artists and views of Rustington. There are also ceramics from a local pottery.

Click on the images below to see them full size.

Old Cottage Dolls

The Old Cottage Doll company was started by the Fleischmann family. They came over to Britain just before World War 2, escaping the Nazis as they were Catholic. The family settled in Rustington and Margaret and Susi set up the business.

Museum Collection holds over 40 of the dolls. They are all beautifully hand-made, some still with their orginal boxes.

Click on the images below to see them full size. 


The Museum collection reflects the village of Rustington and its people, so the collection can be quite diverse. From carrier bags to photos, pub signs to toys, the collection is remarkable snapshot of the people who have lived and worked in the village.


Local Studies

Interested in researching the history of Rustington? We have a library of books, newspaper articles and ephemeral material available for you.

To use our archive please contact us.

For Schools and Outreach

The Museum has a growing Handling Collection and has both real Museum collections and replicas. It covers topics such as Romans and the Home Front to Childhood. With a flexible collection, it can be tailored to your subject and can be used for schools or reminiscence sessions.

To request a copy of the Collection Catalogue or find out more, please contact the Museum.

Rustington Remembers

Come in and listen to our local people’s memories of Rustington. You can hear about discovering evidence of early settlement, from local business owners and the growth of the village.

Do you have a story about Rustington? Get in touch.

We have a small, but growing, team of dedicated volunteers.

Our volunteers assist the museum staff with researching, cataloguing, stewarding, interviewing people as part of Rustington Remembers, and much more.

The volunteers are an invaluable to running the museum and making it a success.