Welcome to Dorset Museum, a place to connect with 250 million years of Dorset’s history.
We invite people from everywhere to discover and enjoy the richness of our county’s natural, historical and cultural heritage through our world-class collections.
We believe everybody will find something here to interest, fascinate or inspire them. We hope it will ignite you with an appreciation of our county and a desire to explore it.
About the Museum
Dorset Museum is cared for by the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, an educational charity and custodians of four million objects in the Museum’s collection.
Daily: 9.00am - 4.30pm
Sunday: 10.00am - 4.00pm
Bank Holidays: 10.00am - 4.00pm
Annual Pass or Day Entry availableBook now
Dorset MuseumHigh West Street
Dorchester DT1 1XA
Make a donation
Your donations allow us to conserve and research Dorset’s most extensive historical collectionsDonate Now
22 January to 30 October 2022
Take a fresh look at the Victorian novelist and poet, Thomas Hardy, in the stunning Wessex landscapes that shaped his view of the world. His story will be retold in exciting new ways by our museum collections, from period costumes to personal letters, art to archaeology.
3 October 2022 – 8 February 2023
Unmasked is a local independent project that began in the dark days of March 2020, when a new disease called COVID-19 literally stopped the world as we knew it.
28 May – 30 October 2022
Take a fresh look at the Victorian novelist and poet, Thomas Hardy, in the stunning Wessex landscapes that shaped his view of the world. His story will be retold in exciting new ways by our museum collections, from period costumes to personal letters, art to archaeology.Find out more
9 September 2022 - 14 October 2022
Drawing Into Life – 6 Week Creative Course
Six week art course designed for adults interested in art and archaeology. This new course is an exciting opportunity to get up close with some extraordinary artefacts in the collection at Dorset Museum. You will be drawing inspiration from prehistoric art including Neolithic flint tools, Anglo Saxon gold, precious burial goods, Roman mosaics, decorative textiles and archaeological maps amongst others, and have the chance to work directly from the Elisabeth Frink collection.Find out more
3 October 2022 - 8 February 2023
Unmasked is a local, voluntary project that began in the dark days of March 2020, when a new disease called COVID-19 literally stopped the world as we knew it.Find out more
Who’s in the Next Room?
Poems by Thomas Hardy with new writing from Paul Hyland, Kate Scott, Catherine Simmonds & Pam Zinnemann-HopeFind out more
9 October 2022, 10:30am - 12noon
The Big Draw at Dorset Museum
Come and take part in our Big Draw event at Dorset Museum. Inspired by the natural world around us, colour and natural forms, help us create a giant collage in the style of Henri Rousseau to display in one of our galleries.Find out more
11 October 2022, 11:00am - 12:00pm
Archaeology Highlights Tour
Explore archaeological treasures held by Dorset Museum – from Bronze Age gold to medieval silver - in this volunteer-led tour.Find out more
13 October 2022, 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Museum after hours
Join us for an opportunity to explore the Museum at this free late openingFind out more
13 October 2022, 7:00pm - 8:00pm
A persistent place: a new chronology for Neolithic Dorchester
The area underneath and around the town of Dorchester was an important place for Neolithic people, who built a variety of monuments here over a period of 2000 years. In this talk, Dr Susan Greaney discusses the research project that has obtained radiocarbon dates from samples of antler picks, charcoal and human remains held in the Dorset Museum collection and has been able to build a brand new chronology for the monuments.Find out more
21 October 2022, 7:00pm - 9:30pm
Join baroque violinist Emma-Marie Kabanova on a musical journey back in time exploring the dance tunes and folk music beloved by Thomas Hardy and his family. Tim Laycock and Colin Thompson contribute the traditional dance tunes and folksongs of Dorset on violin, concertina and melodeon.Find out more
Dorset Museum is the perfect venue to hold any corporate or private events. Offering exclusive hire the wonderful spaces and facilities we can create the perfect setting tailored directly to your needs.
The committed bookings and events team are highly experienced in managing and holding a variety of events, from small conferences to evening parties, and are available to assist with any queries you may have.
September 28, 2022
Bridport Prize Black Writer Residency: Grace Peters Clarke
When I applied for the Bridport Prize Black Writer Residency, I was excited about the prospect of spending an entire week in the countryside, with…Read more
September 10, 2022
Book of Remembrance
Dorset Museum is deeply saddened to hear the news of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 96. Our thoughts…Read more
August 9, 2022
Campaign to unlock Thomas Hardy archive
Dorset Archives Trust is leading a fundraising effort to permanently unlock the internationally significant, UNESCO-listed archive of author Thomas Hardy, gifted to Dorset Museum in…Read more
June 22, 2022
Home of Hillforts and Henges
Home of Hillforts and Henges is an exciting new event from 21st to 31st July that will celebrate Dorchester’s neolithic and iron age landscape,…Read more
June 17, 2022
Community Quilt Making Project
We are currently undertaking a community quilt project in relation to Antje Rook’s “A virus a day” quilt which was on display in the community…Read more
May 27, 2022
Hardy’s Wessex Exhibition opens on Dorset Museum’s one year anniversary.
Dorset Museum’s new exhibition, Hardy’s Wessex: The Landscapes that Inspired a Writer, opened last night at a VIP and Members preview evening. The exhibition opens to the…Read more
April 28, 2022
P J Harvey visits Dorset Museum and gifts Orlam proofs and exclusive photograph to collection
The Dorset-born singer-songwriter, musician and poet, has visited Dorset Museum ahead of the publication of her Dorset dialect narrative poem Orlam. Dorset Museum Interim…Read more
April 27, 2022
Bridport Prize Black Writer Residency winners at the Dorset Museum
Grace Peters-Clarke and Stephenjohn Holgate from Birmingham recently arrived in Dorchester for a visit ahead of their residencies in April and June as winners of…Read more
April 22, 2022
Dorset Museum to display star painting from Victoria and Albert Museum
A star object from the Victoria and Albert Museums collection is due to go on display in a new exhibition being held at Dorset Museum.Read more
Become A Member Today!
Become a member of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society today and get a deeper insight into 250 million years of Dorset’s history, while you help protect its rich heritage for future generations.