Rugby Museums All Around the World

Giorgi DolidzeCorrespondent IJune 8, 2009

UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 26:  RUPMIXSL099FPR Jonah Lomu poses with the waxwork of himself made for Madamme Tussauds wax museum.  (Photo by Ross Land/Getty Images)

Museum is a very common way to express the culture of the country, state, world, to tell the story of a politician, painter, famous singer. There are many different kinds of museums, but the ones that drew my attention the most are the rugby museums.


Not only because I love this sport so much, but also because I’m very interested in seeing what can a museum, of such a “brutal” and “nonsensical” sport offer (for people that do not understand the main idea of rugby, this sport is brutal and nonsensical, which is of course not true).


However, let’s have a look at some of the most famous rugby museums in the world and let’s see what they offer visitors:



Twickenham world rugby museum


The World Rugby Museum is the ultimate visitor experience for the world rugby enthusiast.


Twickenham is the home of England rugby and also the World Rugby Museum—home to the finest collection of rugby memorabilia in the world. The Museum opened in 1996 and takes visitors through the history of the sport from its origins to the present day.


More than just a collection of interesting artifacts, the World Rugby Museum is an inspirational journey through the history of the ultimate team game.


Innovative, interactive exhibits bring to life some of the great moments of the international game. Reconstructions of days gone by; the sights, sounds and even smells of rugby football appear throughout.


Action-packed films show footage of rugby matches from the very earliest right up to the present day. You can even test your strength on the formidable scrum machine!


From the casual observer to the fanatic, the Museum appeals to all.

The World Rugby Museum also operates high quality Stadium Tours.


The tour takes you behind the scenes to visit the most exciting and prestigious parts of Twickenham Stadium. Our teams of tour guides are all experts in the field of rugby and have detailed knowledge of the stadium and its history.


The World Rugby Museum's governing body is the Rugby Football Foundation. The Rugby Football Foundation is a Charitable Trust established by the Rugby Football Union. The purpose of the Rugby Football Foundation is to operate the World Rugby Museum and to promote and develop community amateur rugby in England.


Some of the things museum will show the visitors:


Off the Wall: A Century of Rugby Posters Exhibition


Treasures from Twickenham Stadium’s World Rugby Museum poster collection will be on display in a temporary exhibition that opens on May 1, 2009. From its earliest days, rugby has inspired artists and graphic designers.  This display brings together the finest examples of rugby-related work from around the world.


Lions in Africa Exhibition


The World Ruby Museum would like to present a short running temporary exhibition called ‘Lions in Africa’.

Timed to coincide with the 2009 British Lions tour to South Africa this exhibition will recall key previous British tours of the region.

The exhibition will begin with the first ever British Isles tour to Southern Africa in 1891 and culminate with the most recent 1997 British Lions tour to South Africa captained by Martin Johnson.


New Zealand rugby museum


The museum was the first national rugby museum established in the world and is recognized globally as a reliable source of information for historians, journalists and television producers.


The massive collection of over 30,000 items includes personal playing and touring uniforms, scrapbooks, photographs and programmers from international players and administrators dating back to the 1880's. Rare footage of early matches are among the extensive film library and valuable newspaper clippings complement the large collection of books.


All items received are registered and stored for easy access.


Due to the limited display space only a portion of the archives are on public display. Items are lent out for temporary displays throughout New Zealand and overseas.


There is an ever increasing demand from publishers and television producers for the use of rare material while journalists are frequent visitors searching for new information.

Some of the things museum offers:


The Origins of New Zealand Rugby, 1870

  • Portraits and memorabilia of C J Monro, who introduced the rugby code to this country.
  • Monro's walking stick which he used to walk from Wellington to Petone and back to find a ground for New Zealand's first inter-provincial game.
  • The cabinet beneath this display contains some of the rarest books in New Zealand rugby, including the only copy in this country of "The Football Tour of the New South Wales team through New Zealand 1901 ".
  • One of the oldest known New Zealand match programmes, Wellingtonv New Zealand XV 1893.


The 1904 - 1908 British Showcase

This exhibition relates to the British tours in those years, with the items displayed being mostly donated to the Museum by the family of A F Harding, a member of both teams (captain in 1908) who subsequently settled in New Zealand.

Items of note here include:

  • The two jerseys, that from 1904 is perhaps the oldest outside Great Britain. Both are surprisingly modern in appearance.
  • The valuable collection of rugby caps.
  • The tour cap for the 1904 British tour of Australia and New Zealand features a wallaby and the initials "A A R F T" (Anglo Australian Rugby Football Team). No mention of New Zealand at all. In fact that British team won all its 13 games in Australia, but only 2 out of 5 in New Zealand, an early demonstration of the strength of New Zealand rugby.
  • The touch flag from the 1905 Wales v England test match.


Webb Ellis Rugby Football Museum


Almost every rugby fan will know the story of how the game began when William Webb Ellis, a pupil at Rugby school, picked up the ball during a game of football and ran with it. From such simple origins the game grew into a worldwide phenomenon that's reflected in the Webb Ellis Rugby Football Museum

The Webb Ellis Rugby Football Museum is the site of the first rugby football workshop and houses a fabulous collection of international rugby memorabilia built up over the last hundred years.

The museum is opposite Rugby School in the original building where James Gilbert, boot and shoemaker, made the first rugby footballs in 1842. This tradition still continues today, giving it the accolade of having the longest continuous association with the game of rugby in the world.

Traditional rugby ball making methods can be seen in the museum.

South Africa Rugby Museum


Cape Town - A visit to the South African rugby museum has become a regular port of call for locals and tourists visiting the city of Cape Town. The museum is on the ground floor of the Sport Science Institute, a grubber kick from the magnificent Fedsure Park Newlands stadium.


The SA rugby museum is crammed full of activities, exhibitions and insights into the wonderful world of rugby and is a worthy addition to South Africa’s crown of "rugby world champions". The museum features rotating exhibitions and special attractions, which will fascinate both local and international visitors whether they be players, administrators or supporters.


The No. 1 attraction of course is a replica of the Webb Ellis Cup—won by the Springboks at Ellis Park in 1995. The special World Cup exhibit includes the results from all three World Cup tournaments to date and the emotively powerful theme song "World in Union".


Other highlights and activities include an innovative push-button radio commentary of famous tries and incidents on the field from the 1950s, '60s, and '70s before the advent of television. Visitors can relive some of the magical moments in Springbok rugby brought alive by such famous voices as Gerhard Viviers and Charles Fortune.



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