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.

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FULLY BOOKED

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.

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Community Exhibition

3 October 2022 - 8 February 2023

Unmasked

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.

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Poetry Evening

CANCELLED

Who’s in the Next Room?

Poems by Thomas Hardy with new writing from Paul Hyland, Kate Scott, Catherine Simmonds & Pam Zinnemann-Hope

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Big Draw 2022

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.

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Tours

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.

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13 October 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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Talk

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.

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Concert

21 October 2022, 7:00pm - 9:30pm

Strings Forever!

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.

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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.

Literature

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…

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News

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…

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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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