Tullie House Museum - History and Facts | History Hit

Tullie House Museum

Carlisle, England, United Kingdom

Opened in 1893, Tullie House Museum in Carlisle is a converted Jacobean mansion housing the greatest collection of Roman artefacts in the north-east.

Amy Irvine

15 Mar 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Tullie House Museum

Tullie House Museum is a beautiful Grade I Listed Jacobean mansion in Carlisle which is part contemporary art gallery, part natural history museum and part local historical document.

History of Tullie House Museum

Tullie House incorporates a town house of the same name, which can be traced back to the 16th century. The Tullie family occupied the building until the 19th century. Formerly known as the White House, the house was modernised in the late 17th century by Thomas Tullie, who was sometime Dean of Carlisle.

Remaining internal features from the 17th century within the building are a large ground floor fireplace and a Jacobean oak staircase. The latter leads to wood-panelled upper rooms. Late 19th century extensions added a range of buildings on the north side.

Tullie House Museum opened in 1893. It underwent a major redevelopment in 1990, and an underground gallery was developed in 2001.

Tullie House Museum today

The museum’s historical collections include Middle and New Stone Age (the oldest piece being a hand-axe that dates to c.10,000 BC), Bronze Age jewellery, pottery and metalwork and artefacts from the early Medieval period through to the Tudors. The star of the show however is Roman Frontier: Beyond Hadrian’s Wall, a permanent exhibition that includes ‘an internationally important set of organic (mostly wooden and leather) objects from excavations of the fort and town located under present day Carlisle’.

You’ll see Roman writing tablets (as well as what could possibly be the first ever written reference to ‘Britannia’), a superb collection of sculptured and inscribed stones, military and civilian items and religious icons depicting Roman gods and local Celtic deities.

You’ll also see the world’s biggest collection of fragments and finds from the western end of the world famous Hadrian’s Wall, the far northern border of the colossal Roman Empire.

Often referred to as Carlisle’s best visitor attraction, Tullie House Museum houses an amazing array of exhibitions, interactive and hands-on displays and exciting exhibits and you can even climb a life-sized section of Hadrian’s Wall or fire a Roman weapon.

Don’t forget to visit the real Hadrian’s Wall just 30 minutes away for a true taste of Roman Britain.

Getting to Tullie House Museum

Tullie House is located in the city centre of Carlisle, and is well served by public transport. It is a 10 minute walk from the bus station and a further 2 minutes from the train station.

If travelling by car, it’s best to park in Castle Car Park and then reach the museum on foot by following the road in front of Carlisle Castle.

Featured In

Cumbria Historic Sites

Explore Cumbria's exceptional history at these 10 oustanding attractions, from crumbling Roman forts to majestic medieval monasteries.