Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery
Free exhibition

A major new exhibition celebrating the incredible fantasy world brought to life by J.R.R. Tolkien and the generations of creators it has influenced.

Middle-earth is a place both mythical and familiar. This seemingly living, breathing world came into being because of Tolkien’s unique approach to fantasy. Tolkien suggested that fantasy was a secondary world which our mind enters. He likened the experience to cleaning the windows of the consciousness so that once readers return to the familiarity of the everyday they see the wonder of the world anew.

This densely detailed world feels real, historical and has a powerful sense of the perpetual, however Tolkien’s maps suggest regions unexplored leaving room for others to imagine their own inhabitants and new adventures. This exhibition seeks to celebrate that artistic legacy.

Collector Matt Fox has brought together a magical treasure trove of over 200 rare objects. An exhibition of family fun for all ages, from little halflings to wizened wizards, immerse yourself in Middle-earth and the many ways it has been reinterpreted since Tolkien first penned those famous words, “In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit…”

Culture on Call:

To help keep everyone safe, we’ve made some changes at the Willis Museum. We have introduced a number of measures in line with government guidelines to help manage our visitor numbers and ensure we maintain social distancing to protect you, our staff and volunteers. You can find out what we are doing at the Willis Museum visit here: www.hampshireculture.org.uk/willis-museum-and-sainsbury-gallery More information is available in our FAQs

  • The One Ring by Jens Hansen
  • THe Lord of the Rings 1978 poster
  • An unexpected Gathering by Lego
  • Smaug The Terrible model by Weta Workshop
  • Gandalf Visits Bilbo by The Brothers Hildebrandt
  • The entrance to the exhibition
  • Theatre programmes from stage productions of The Hobbit
  • A close up of a diorama showing an epic battle from the films
  • Action figures of Frodo Baggins and Gollum
  • A corner of the gallery featuring film posters and memorabilia
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