Step back in time to meet Thomas Paine, author of ‘Rights of Man’
Gather at Beehive Yard where Thomas Paine worked as a staymaker to hear some of his famous works.
Actor Ian Ruskin will be portraying Thomas Paine for us on this evening before his one-man show ‘To Begin the World Over Again’ at the Corn Hall on 9 May. Sample an 18th century buffet including Diss bread. This is a free event with refreshments - donations gratefully received.
For more information please contact Basil Abbott on 01379 650618 or

A Stroll around Diss
March-October, £5 per person (accompanied children under 12 free)
Stroll time: approx. 1.5 hours, start and finish at the Museum
Introducing you to our lovely market town – not just a guided tour! Learn about some of the old buildings, the town’s history, some of its famous people and a lot of interesting things about Diss.
Remember… we put the ROLL into the STROLL for those who rely upon wheels to get around!
View the event poster

The Shambles - When the Museum building was a butcher's shop
Amongst items on display are the large weighing scales, a frightningly heavy meat cleaver, a bloodied apron, photographs and three 'frails'. Frail was the name given to the rushwork bags that Mr. Anness the butcher provided for carrying meat home. An indication of their age is shown by the printed telephone number on the bag - Diss 105.

Since last November we have had A/V in the Shambles to demonstrate DVDs on sale in the shop. The facility has also been used to show the Tristram Cary Story and is currently being used to display the story of the Diss Dig.

Permanent Exhibitions

Always on display are the Manning family dolls' house and information about local personalities like Tudor poet-laureate and Diss rector, John Skelton, and Victorian photographer, Cleer Alger.

Diss Museum      Diss Museum

Temporary Exhibitions

Details of our temporary exhibitions for 2019.

Major exhibition - centenary of the R34 Airbus

The main exhibition commemorates the R34 airship centenary. In July 1919 the dirigible flew from Scotland to Long Island and back to Pulham. Museums around the world are joining Diss in celebrating this aviation feat. Local schools, art, textile and modelling groups have contributed to the display, with interactive work by the University of Suffolk students. There will be events on the centenary weekend, 13th/14th July.

R34 airship centenary

From over 60 new acquisitions in 2018 a selection will be on show, including:

WW1 needlepoint cushion cover made by Mr W Flatman of Brockdish
Box Brownie camera
Four hand-made wooden jigsaws with illustrations by H. St. Winslade
School badges from The Entry House School, Diss
Aldrich family photographs and letter

Working the land by hand
Following the exhibition at Diss Corn Hall, from January 16th to February 23rd, many of the items will be on show for the rest of the season in the Museum.

The Cuthbert Stores
The 1960 Christmas Price List from Cuthbert’s wines and spirits shop in Mere Street was a new acquisition in 2108 and a display is being created of what was on offer – at original seasonal 1960 prices.

Aldrich Bros. Brush Factory
Showcasing the family business along with items used and made at the factory.

Community Cabinet
The first display (March to May) will show examples of hand embroidered replica scenes from the Bayeux Tapestry.    This will be followed by a glimpse into a lifetime of buying from local auctions and sales – a miscellany of weird, wonderful and everyday objects. Later in the year it will host a cabinet of curiosities – mystery objects to set you thinking.

There could be an opportunity for one further display – get in touch to book a slot!


Secrets of the Butcher's Attic


Church Street


Pubs of Diss


Betjeman centenary






Gaze’s & Frenze


DissBorn - a few iconic objects from local people about their life Thelveton Estate, school, gamekeeping History of Town Guide




Diss Grammar School centenary


End of WW1 90th anniversary


World War 3


Historical Items With a Hint of Mystery




Thomas Paine


The Shambles history


Fair Green


Banking Scandals


Diss Secondary Modern School




Edwardian Childhood


Crippen & Ethel Le Neve








Flints & fossils






Church School 150th anniversary


Friendly Invasion 70th anniversary


On the Square: Freemasons


Royal commemorations




Corn Hall


Diss Militia, including medal


King John & Matilda 800th anniversary


Flints & fossils


History of life before electricity






Airship Days




UN International Year of Crystallography


Eighteenth Century New Hall porcelain


Burston Strike centenary




Diss Mere


Redgrave Estate - Admiral Wilson and WOP Garnham


The Heritage Triangle Traders


Diss Hospital


Lost Sweet Shops of Diss


Hats Off - hats and hatpins




The Roydon Field Mystery


Well shod!


Wop Garnham & Admiral Wilson


WW1 update


Hidden Gems


A Royal Event


The Printed Word


100 Years of the Cubs


The Heritage Triangle


Tristram Cary Tribute




Norfolk and Seretse Khama


The Great War


Heritage Triangle




Diss Rotary Club


1937 Coronation


The Aldrich Bros Ltd Brush & Mat Factory


John Frere’s hand axe discoveries


World War 2 


Diss Cemetery Worthies


The Handwritten Letter

Past Exhibitions

In a few weeks’ time there will be on sale a large number of donated CDs and box sets covering a wide range of jazz to coincide with the Corn Hall’s jazz evening tribute to Stan Getz with the Chris ingham Quartet on 4 April.

The wide range of CDs should encourage ‘new’ entrants into the jazz world with works by Basie, Ellington, Getz, Zoot Simms, Gerry Mulligan, Tristano, Kenton, Cab Calloway, Coltrane, Dizzy, Bird, Lester, Bean, Mose Alison, Tubby Hayes, Monk and many more.

A price list will be available at the museum.

Sales of World War II books/Jazz CDs
In conjunction with the Grand Opening of the Museum by Wing Commander Richard Youngs on March 9th, the museum is displaying for sale, a donation comprising a range of over 30 books dealing with World War II and the history leading up to it.

Some of the books are quite rare, such as Failure of a Mission by Sir Neville Henderson, the ambassador to the Nazi government from 1937-1940, Lease-lend by Stettinius, the man Roosevelt appointed to run it, The war that Hitler won about Nazi propaganda before and during the war and many others, including books about The fall of France, Stalingrad, Leningrad, Midway, Stalin and his generals and the Goebbels diaries. The books are now on sale.

Jazz CDs

2019 programme of meetings.

April 19th - Geoff Doggett
The River Waveney and how the Waveney Trust protects and develops this heritage.

May 17th - Annual General Meeting
Derek Potter: Another shopkeeper’s tale.

June 21st - Mike Rumble
“Lucky Breeze”. G. H. Scott and the R34. Celebrating the R34 centenary.

July 29th - John Stark
The Mid-Suffolk Light Railway and the small museum which keeps memories of “The Middy” alive.

August 16th - Georgette Vale
Edith Cavell speaks from her cell before execution by the Germans during WW1.

September 20th - Tony Diamond
The story of the Hoxne Hoard.

October 18th - Frances Hart
Celia’s Travels. The journeys of Celia Fiennes. Was she the Fine Lady of Banbury Cross in 18th century England?

November 15th - The Quiz
A light-hearted contest of general knowledge with prizes and free mince pies.

December 20th - Lucy Wilgress
The Louie’s Lane Murder. The story as told by the author of this enthralling tale.

Friends £3, others £5
The money raised covers costs and helps finance specific museum projects.

Diss Museum

11 Market Hill
IP22 3JZ
01379 650618

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