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History of the World Rugby Museum

Museum exhibition

Since the birth of the Rugby Football Union (RFU) in 1871, a large range of artefacts has been collected including minute books, match programmes, tickets and gifts from other rugby unions.

Over the course of a century, the collection built up to such a level that in 1972 the RFU had the idea of opening a museum.

The first location to be considered was 180 Whitton Road, one of the RFU-owned houses behind the South Stand at Twickenham. This museum never came into being and the house became an archive store.

The first time that any part of the collection was revealed to the public was in the old West Stand.

From around 1979 to 1983, cabinets displayed some of the most famous trophies and items of interest. In 1983 it was decided to open the first purpose-built museum, which was housed in the then newly built South Stand.

By the 1990s, with the planned redevelopment of the East Stand, it was decided that there should be some space reserved there for a new museum.

The World Rugby Museum was opened on the March 16, 1996 by the then Secretary of State for National Heritage, Virginia Bottomley MP.