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

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Make a donation

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

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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.

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FULLY BOOKED

17 June - 11 July 2022, 10:00am - 1:00pm

Hardy’s Wessex: Drawing on the ancient past

This six-week course led by artist Helen Garrett will take you on a creative journey through Thomas Hardy’s work, inspirations and Dorset Museum’s collections.

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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

3 July 2022, 10:30am – 12:30pm

Sunday ArtyFacts

Create your own Victorian silhouette and Victorian style frame. Make your own drawn or painted Victorian portrait based inspired by the Hardy's Wessex exhibition, the Hardy's Gallery and portraits in the Artists' Dorset Gallery.

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Tours

9 July 2022, 10:30am - 12:00noon

Roman Town House Tours

A guided tour of one of the best examples of a Roman Town House in England.

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Family Activity

10 July 2022, 10:30am – 12:30pm

Sunday ArtyFacts

Have fun with stencils and create your own printed fabric based on flowers and natural forms in our Dorset artist and Natural Dorset galleries.

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Concert

20 July 2022, 7:30pm

Victoria Sayles and Kirsty Barry

A visit from two musicians with strong local connections. Violinist, Victoria (Dorchester born and bred) now enjoys an international career having recently been appointed leader of the Royal Swedish Opera Orchestra while Pianist, Kirsty will be remembered as a former member of staff at Thomas Hardye School.

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Festival of Archaeology: Museum after hours

21 July 2022, 5:00pm - 7:00pm

Museum after hours

Join us for an opportunity to explore the Museum at this free late opening

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Festival of Archaeology: Talk

21 July 2022, 7:00pm - 8:00pm

The Ridgeway Vikings: New research and findings | Heather Tamminen

Using modern digital technology, the sharp force of trauma on these individuals has been reappraised to see what new information can be learned. Bournemouth University’s Heather Tamminen will show how this technology has been able to refine the interpretations of the events that occurred and have added to the narrative of dramatic events that took place on the Ridgeway ten centuries ago.

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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.

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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News

March 8, 2022

Solidarity with Ukraine

Dorset Museum stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and supports them in their fight to preserve their independence. As museum workers, we support…

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