Maidstone Museum & Bentlif Art Gallery is in Maidstone, Kent, England.OverviewIn 1855 Thomas Charles, a local doctor and antiquarian, left his collections of art and antiquities to Maidstone Borough Council. The Council acquired Charles’s house, Chillington Manor, from his executors and in 1858 opened it as the Charles Museum, later renamed Maidstone Museum. The Museum was one of the first to be opened as a result of the Museums Act (1845) and was a founder member of the Museums Association (1909). Maidstone Museum celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2008.This museum contains over 600,000 artefacts and specimens. Its collections, housed in the centre of Kent’s county town, are amongst the most comprehensive in the South-East. The Museum is one of three operated by Maidstone Borough Council and is open seven days a week. Admission is free.Mission statementThe Museum's mission statement is ‘We tell the story of Maidstone, its people, their natural environment and the wider world in which they live, through the artefacts and specimens which we collect and interpret for everyone to learn from and enjoy.’BuildingThe Museum's central core consists of an Elizabethan manor house, formerly known as Chillington Manor, completed in 1577 with earlier Tudor buildings to its rear. In the early 18th century a substantial wing was added to the west of the Tudor house. After its opening as a museum the building was further extended to house the growing collections. On the eastern side a new wing was added in 1869, matched by new wing to the west in 1873 made possible by donations from Julius Brenchley.