Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens is a municipal museum in Sunderland, .It is part of the Tyne and Wear Museums group, and is sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
It was established in 1852, the first municipally funded museum in the country outside of London. It contains the only known British example of a gliding reptile, the oldest known vertebrate capable of gliding flight. The exhibit was discovered in Eppleton quarry
In 1876 the Museum moved to a larger building next to Mowbray Park including a Winter Garden based on the model of the Crystal Palace. United States president Ulysses Grant was in attendance of the opening of the new building. The Winter Garden was heavily damaged by a bomb during World War II and was demolished with a 1960s extension taking its place, but in 2001 a lottery funded refurbishment of the Museum created a new Winter Garden extension and improved facilities. In 2003 the Museum was recognised as the most attended outside London. The Museum contains a large collection of the locally made Sunderland Lustreware pottery. Other highlights of the Museum are a stuffed Lion, the remains of a Walrus brought back from Siberia in the 1880s and the first Nissan car to be made at the Sunderland Nissan Plant.
The 'town library', which for decades was housed in the Sunderland Museum building, was moved in 1995 to the new City Library and Arts Centre. The move left more space for museum exhibits. The new City Library Arts Centre, on Fawcett Street, also houses the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, renowned as one of the leading forums for new artists in the North of England.