Welcome

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.


 

  • Opening hours:

    Daily: 9.00am - 4.30pm
    Sunday: 10.00am - 4.00pm
    Bank Holidays: 10.00am - 4.00pm

  • Admissions:

    Annual Pass or Day Entry available

    Book now
  • Dorset Museum

    High West Street
    Dorchester DT1 1XA

    View Map


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Make a donation

Your donations allow us to conserve and research Dorset’s most extensive historical collections

Donate Now

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Exhibitions

Special Exhibition

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

Community Exhibition

20 June – 16 September 2022

Plastics are not Fantastic

In this exhibition students from Weymouth College express their thoughts about the environment through posters, pledges and artwork.

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Family Activity

11 August 2022, 10:00am - 12noon

Summer ArtyFacts

Inspired by Dorset Museum’s collection and Special Exhibitions, our volunteer-led craft activities are fun and creative. 

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Storytelling

12 August 2022, 10:30am - 11:30am

Fireside tales from Wessex: Story-telling with Tim Laycock

Participatory folk stories and songs for all the family.

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Book Signing

FULLY BOOKED

An afternoon with Joanna Quinn

Joanna Quinn's debut novel, The Whalebone Theatre, is a brilliant coming-of-age story set in Dorset and has been dubbed ‘the book of the summer' by the Sunday Times. There is an opportunity to spend the afternoon with Joanna and hear about her book in this free event.

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Tours

16 August 2022, 10:00am - 11:00am

Dorset Museum Highlights Tour

Explore 250 million years of Dorset’s history in this volunteer-led highlights tour of Dorset Museum. Discover Roman mosaics, fossils from the Jurassic Coast, Thomas Hardy manuscripts and the sculptures of Elisabeth Frink – and plenty more along the way.

Find out more

Family Activity

16 August 2022, 10:00am - 12noon

Summer ArtyFacts

Inspired by Dorset Museum’s collection and Special Exhibitions, our volunteer-led craft activities are fun and creative. 

Find out more

Family Activity

18 August 2022, 10:00am - 12noon

Summer ArtyFacts

Inspired by Dorset Museum’s collection and Special Exhibitions, our volunteer-led craft activities are fun and creative. 

Find out more

Tours

23 August 2022, 10:00am - 11:00am

Dorset Museum Highlights Tour

Explore 250 million years of Dorset’s history in this volunteer-led highlights tour of Dorset Museum. Discover Roman mosaics, fossils from the Jurassic Coast, Thomas Hardy manuscripts and the sculptures of Elisabeth Frink – and plenty more along the way.

Find out more

Galleries

Venue Hire

Victorian-Hall-Wedding

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.

Appeal

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…

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News

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,…

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Community

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…

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News

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…

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News

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…

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News

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…

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News

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.

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News

April 20, 2022

Awards Success for Dorset Museum!

Dorset Museum had a busy day on Thursday 7th April 2022 with award wins in both the South West Tourism Awards and the Dorchester and…

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News

March 14, 2022

Artwork that became an inspiration during the coronavirus pandemic is on display at Museum

A Virus a Day is an exhibition of textile art by Antje Rook which tells a personal story of living with the Covid-19 pandemic.

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