The Powell Cotton Museum

Quex Museum

Major PHG Powell Cotton (1866-1940) founded the Powell Cotton Museum at his home in East Kent to house his increasing collection of mammals and ethnographic material acquired on expeditions to Africa and Asia. He was a pioneer in the use of the natural history diorama to exhibit large mammals against a representation of their habitat.

At a time when photography was limited this was the only way of showing African wildlife other than in a zoo and from the first Major Powell Cotton planned his museum as an educational institution. The Quex natural history dioramas featuring animals mounted by the noted taxidermist Rowland Ward of London and are among the finest to be seen anywhere in the world.

In addition to the dioramas the museum galleries show a wide ranging collection of ethnographic material from many countries in Africa, including East Africa, Ethiopia, Somalia and Central Africa as well as Asia. Items include musical instruments, clothing, pottery, ceremonial costume and weaponry.

Quex is the only historic house of its type in the Isle of Thanet. Several rooms in Quex House are open, enabling museum visitors to appreciate something of the life of the Powell Cotton family who have been central to the local community of Birchington for 200 years. The drawing room was furnished by Major Powell Cotton as an oriental room, panelling and decorative woodwork was made especially for the room in Kashmir walnut. The house rooms are always attractively decorated with floral displays and guides are on hand to welcome visitors.

The gardens of Quex House, are also open to visitors and feature wide lawns with mature trees and a walled kitchen garden. A number of pieces from John Powell Powell's collection of cannon can be seen at the front and back of the house including 24 pounders salvaged from the wreck of the Royal George and, in the museum can be seen a piece of a breech loading gun salvaged from the wreck of the 'Mary Rose' by the pioneering diver, John Deane in the 1830s.

During the First World War Quex House became an Auxiliary Military Hospital run by the Birchington Voluntary Aid Detachment. More information about VAD work in Kent can be found here - http://www.kentvad.org/

Information about the Museum, opening times and admission prices can be found on the Quex Museum website .