RAMM’s local history collection contains objects from the social and industrial history of Exeter and the surrounding area.

The varied collection of objects and paper documents reflect everyday life for local residents from the 17th century.

Many architectural fragments of historical interest have been collected by RAMM over the last 150 years. They include an important collection of fragments from Tudor buildings in Exeter, and the nationally-important Hems collection of medieval woodwork.

The Hems Collection of woodwork. An outstanding collection of nearly 500 pieces of medieval woodwork, collected by the Exeter master sculptor Harry Hems. The pieces were originally displayed in Hems’ workshop to inspire his craftsmen in their world-renowned work. These items now form one of the best collections of Medieval woodwork in Britain.

Fragments from historic buildings in Exeter. Many of these items were salvaged during renovation or demolition of historic buildings in the post-war redevelopment of the city. The collection includes fragments of woodwork and plasterwork from the city’s Tudor houses, and fragments and casts of stonework from the Cathedral and the Guildhall.

You can see some of this collection in the museum’s Making History gallery, or browse some of the collection on our Collections Explorer website, including the Hems collection.

Are you interested in using our collections for research? We welcome opportunities for the collection to be used for research by students, local history or community groups, and interested individuals. Please contact us if you have an enquiry about this collection, or to make an appointment to visit material in store.