Opening hours 10am to 4pm, Wednesday to Sunday. FREE Admission

Loan and Reminiscence Boxes

East Grinstead Museum covers the story of the town from prehistory to the present day and serves as a great local history case study for use in both primary and secondary schools, as well as in Care Homes. 

Our Loan Boxes help bring the excitement of handling real historic objects to classrooms. They cover a number of topics connected to the history of the town, and are great aids for teaching.

Reminiscence Boxes provide an exciting way to engage older people in discussing their memories and recollections. They can be supervised with a museum volunteer to guide the discussion.

For details for both sets of boxes, please scroll down the page.



Second World War Loan Box

Discover how families in East Grinstead lived through the Second World War with our comprehensive Loan Box. Learn about food rationing: could you manage on 1oz of butter for a whole week?! Have you ever heard of Woolford Pie? See if you can find it in one of the cookery books in the box. Do you know what evacuation means? You can find out all the answers from several sources in the box.

Try on an A.R.P. Warden’s helmet (and discover what ‘A.R.P.’ stands for). Did you know that East Grinstead was bombed during WW2 ? Find out all this and more from our Second World War Loan Box!


items from the Second World War Box, including a dark green ARP helmet and a recipe booklet

First World War Loan Box

Go back in time to discover how people were affected by the First World War.  Read about what to do in case of invasion by the enemy!

Learn about the part that patriotism played in encouraging young men to join up and fight for their King and country.  Handle items that were sent to soldiers on the front line, and gifts that soldiers made and sent back to their sweethearts and families at home.

Look at the old pennies, and try to imagine carrying those around in your pocket or purse.  Twelve of those equalled one shilling, which is the same as 5p today!

Find all these things as well as newspapers of the time in our First World War Loan Box.


Items from the First World War Loan Box, including replica documents and medals

Toys Loan Box

This box covers many decades of fun and games with a variety of toys, puzzles and board games from Victorian times to the 1970s. Some of the card games may be familiar, even if the pictures on the cards look a little old-fashioned. You may be able to help us with one or two of the games as there are no instructions so we don’t know how to play them!

Some of the hand-held games need a very steady hand – this should be no problem to all those for whom using a mobile phone is second nature.

Enjoy seeing what those from previous generations played with, and compare the items in the box with the things you find entertaining today.


Housemaid's Loan Box

Over 100 years ago there were a number of very large houses in East Grinstead, each with its own land.  Today, few of those houses still exist, but many of the housing estates are named after the houses on whose land they were built, such as Imberhorne, Estcots & Herontye.  These big houses needed a large number of people to look after them, and to serve those who lived in them.  One such person would have been a Housemaid.  Our Loan Box tells you a little about her and what her duties would have been.

The box itself is an authentic Victorian Housemaid’s Box, but the contents vary in age.  There are all sorts of fascinating items to handle, each with their own story to tell.  Some are Victorian, some are a little later, but all are sure to invite discussion and some will definitely have you guessing at their use!

If you enjoy unusual and quirky items then this is a wonderful box to borrow.


1950s Reminiscence Box

Do you remember the 1950s? Does the memory of a washboard fill you with the washday blues or make your fingers itch to clatter out rhythms on it's corrugated surface?

Where were you when the coronation took place? Were you crowded around a 9 inch black and white television or at a street party?

Enjoy a trip down memory lane with our 1950s Reminiscence Box. We have a wonderful collection of memorabilia for your organisation or group to borrow. The items come conveniently packed in a box for easy collection, together with information about them and photographs of East Grinstead durign the decade.

What about holding a 1950s evening and dressing up in clothes of the era, whilst talking about your memories?

Suitable for care homes and community groups.


Items from our 1950s loan box, including a washboard, yellow Civil Defence Armband, and a Coronation Programme.

Booking a Box

Each box costs £5 per week to hire.

If you would like to book out a box, please email us with the name of the box, and when you would like to borrow it.

Education at the Museum