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.

 

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

The Victorian Hall will be hosting a private event all day from Sunday 15th to Monday 16th May 2022 and therefore will be closed to visitors.

  • 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

Exhibition

14 March to 12 June 2022

A Virus a Day Textile Art by Antje Rook

Antje Rook created the A Virus a Day quilt created in response to Covid-19. The Portland artist embroidered one virus for every day of the first 2020 UK lockdown while she was isolating with her partner.

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Concert

25 May 2022, 7:30pm

Ruisi Quartet

Celebrated for their deeply engaging performances of early repertoire alongside championing progressive new music, the critically-acclaimed Ruisi Quartet has established a reputation as a charismatic and expressive young ensemble.

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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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Family Activity

31 May 2022, 10:00am - 12noon

Half Term ArtyFacts

Model theatre-making based on Hardy's novels and the model by Thomas Tilley for the Hardy Players in the Hardy's Dorset Gallery.

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Family Activity

2 June 2022, 10:00am - 12noon

Half Term ArtyFacts

Create your own wooden Victorian decoupage box using Victorian images and decoration in association with the Thomas Hardy exhibition and the Hardy's Dorset gallery. Younger children will be able to create simple Victorian collages.

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Tours

11 June 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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Workshop

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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Workshop

18 June 2022, 11:30am - 4:00pm

Dorset Button making day

Join Dorset button maker and artist Anna McDowell to explore the history of Dorset button-making and take part in a workshop to make your own buttons.

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Family Activity

19 June 2022, 10:30am – 12:30pm

Sunday ArtyFacts

Create colourful wax resist and collaged patchwork patterns and shapes inspired by Valentine Ackland's jacket from our Dorset Artists gallery. Make your own cards and bookmarks with colourful designs to take home.

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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

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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News

February 16, 2022

Dorset Museum appoints Elizabeth Selby as Interim Director and Jean Lang as Chair of Trustees

Elizabeth Selby has been appointed Interim Director of Dorset Museum and the Dorset and Natural History and Archaeological Society by the Society’s Board of Trustees,…

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News

February 16, 2022

Dorset Museum lends objects to landmark Stonehenge exhibition at British Museum

Dorset Museum is one of a number of major institutions across Europe lending objects to a major exhibition at the British Museum, opening on 17…

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News

February 11, 2022

Alex takes on Dorset community engagement role

We’re pleased to announce that Alex Briggs has been appointed as Learning and Community Co-ordinator at Dorset Museum. In this important role, she will be…

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