The museum was officially founded in 1983 by a group of residents under the leadership of John Cloake, a local historian. It is located on the second floor of the Old Town Hall on Whittaker Avenue. The collection covers the area of the old pre-1965 Borough of Richmond which comprised Richmond, Ham, Petersham and Kew. The foundation of the collection came from the Borough collection. Currently, through a wide-ranging education service and special exhibitions, the Museum embraces the whole area of the present London Borough of Richmond upon Thames.