About Us

About the Munnings Art Museum

The Munnings Art Museum is the only museum devoted to Past President of the Royal Academy and proponent of traditional values in painting and drawing Sir Alfred Munnings. Housed in the artist’s former Grade II listed home in rural East Anglia the museum presents the largest rotating permanent retrospective of his work alongside changing special exhibitions and an events programme.

Foundation and development of the museum

Sir Alfred Munnings bought Castle House and its surrounding fields in 1919, aged 40. The following year he married Violet McBride and they lived at Castle House for 40 years until he died in 1959. Munnings was a philanthropic man and had already donated a sum of money to help buy Gainsborough’s House in Sudbury for the nation during the 1950s. Munnings had no children it was his wish to leave Castle House to the public. The museum was therefore established in 1961 by Violet Munnings when she created a registered charity, Castle House Trust, to operate a museum in his name. Later, in 1966, Violet gave Castle House, its land and contents to Castle House Trust and its Trustees.

Violet died in 1971 and the Trustees continued to develop the museum by buying a number of significant paintings by Munnings in the 1970s and 1980s to add to an already large collection. Renovation work was done on Castle House which created additional gallery spaces and the museum celebrated Munnings centenary in style in 1978.

In 2013, due to the introduction of the Artist Resale Right, the museum gained an additional income stream which enabled the Trustees to appoint the museum’s first professional Director. Since that time the museum has developed research, exhibition and publication programmes and well as an active programme of creative events.

Our team

The museum has a small number of dedicated staff looking after the museum and its estate, the collection and engaging with audiences but a large part of what it delivers is due to the unwaivering committment of a 70 strong volunteer cohort. If you would like to donate your time to the museum then please enquire here >


Oversight of the museum today lies with a board of Trustees. They are responsible for the strategic development of the museum and work to safeguard it for the future.

The Trustees are:
James Johnston (Chair)
Mike Parker
Ann Tolhurst
Charles Aldous
Bryony Maynard

In the 2010s, as the value of the museum’s collection grew and the scope of the museum’s activities increased the trustees decided that the unincorporated structure founded by Violet Munnings was no longer suitable and that the charity would be better served through incorporation. With the agreement of the Charity Commission a new charity was incorporated, also called The Castle House Trust. The incorporated charity took over the activities of the museum at the start of 2022 and in February 2023 the Charity Commission agreed to link the old charity to the new.

As a consequence of the linking, the unincorporated charity’s financial returns to the Charity Commission are no longer available through the charity register. The first set of substantive accounts for the incorporated charity will cover the year to December 2022 and will be published later in 2023. In the absence of earlier accounts on the charity register we thought it might be helpful to provide links to financial accounts which had been available prior to the linking of the charities.
Castle House Trust (1161304-1 formerly 310671)

Year to December 2021 >
Year to December 2020 >