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KEY DATES FOR WIMBLEDON 2016

Qualifying begins: 20 June

The Draw: 24 June

Pre-event Press Conferences: 25 & 26 June

Order of Play: 26 June

Championships begin: 27 June

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Collections & Exhibitions
Information about the Museum Collection and Exhibitions at the Museum READ MORE

'Reinventing the Racket'

Featuring 87 rackets from the 1870s right up until the present day, the Wimbledon Museum's most recent exhibition charted the evolution of the humble racket from a single piece of wood bent into shape with steam to a model complete with a smart chip that tracks on-court behaviour.

Some of the more rudimentary designs featured sheepskin grips and piano wire strings, while the exhibition also included some decidedly wackier creations, like a racket-shaped vegetable dish.

Designed to highlight how the racket has continually been adapted to provide any sort of on-court advantage, it took visitors through a chronological history of its development, and pointed out the key evolutionary jumps along the way.

This gallery is now closed, and the Museum is in the process of installing its next exhibition, entitled: 'On Air: Wimbledon and the BBC 1927-2017'.

About the Museum Collection

Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum’s collection contains over 20,000 objects that chronicle the history of lawn tennis from a popular pastime to the world class sporting tournament that is The Championships.

Since its founding in the 1970s, the museum has expanded its collection to include a wide variety of artefacts. These range from a c1555 book on the game of tennis, to the balls used in the 2014 Gentlemen’s Singles final. The collection also includes some unusual tennis themed objects such as toys and teapots.

Trophies and Medals

A range of cups, plates, medals and prizes drawn from three centuries. These artefacts are symbols of distinction in tennis, from junior victories in county tournaments to the attainment of the sport’s ultimate title: Wimbledon Champion.

Fashion

Costumes and textiles charting the evolution of the dress and the influence of changing fashion trends. The collection includes shorts, shirts, dresses, hats, shoes and accessories by famous fashion houses and sports brands as well as designs by players themselves.

Jewellery

Accessories for men such as cufflinks, watches and tie pins are included with women’s pieces, such as necklaces, pins and bracelets and  ‘skirt lifters’ – an essential item for the nineteenth-century tennis player. The treasures in this collection reveal the glamorous side of the sport from the 1870s to the present. 

Tennis Equipment

A comprehensive array of artefacts from rackets to ball-throwing machines that illustrate the technological advancements in the game. Major sporting brands are represented such as Slazenger, who have supplied balls to The All England Lawn Tennis Club since 1902.

Players’ Memorabilia

The Museum holds personal collections of equipment, dress and archive material relating to Wimbledon champions, pioneer players and stars of the court  from each generation. This collection is continually updated with new material from competitors on the current professional circuit.

Decorative Art

Tennis-themed ceramics, glass and metalwork showcase key aesthetic movements from the late 19th Century and 20th Century. Some of the most beautiful works are the stylised Art Deco figures by designers such as Hagenauer and Preiss who used the fluid movements of players from the 1920s and 1930s as inspiration.

Fine Art

An exceptional collection of paintings, sculpture and works on paper including cartoons, photographs and prints on the subject of tennis. There are visual representations of players in action as well as individual portraits. Other artworks illustrate the forerunner games to lawn tennis such as rackets and real tennis.

Toys

The Museum holds an eclectic mix of tennis-inspired dolls, action figures, soft toys and board games. This includes tennis-themed products from familiar brands like Barbie and Cabbage Patch, as well as player promotional material such as ‘The Fred Perry Wimbledon Game’ released in 1936.

Olympics

Medals, programmes, clothing and archive material associated with the history of tennis within the Olympic movement. The Olympic tennis event was played at Wimbledon in 1908 and in 2012. The collection includes much Olympic memorabilia from the programme from the 1908 Olympics, to Andy Murray’s outfit from his Gold success at the 2012 Olympics.

Ephemera

A wide-ranging collection of ephemera, including advertisements, packaging, tickets and programmes. Victorian invitations for tea and tennis, dinner menus, 1930s Wimbledon parking passes and today’s queue stickers add colour and context to the official history of the game.