Special Exhibition

28 May – 30 October 2022

Hardy's Wessex

 

The largest collection of Thomas Hardy objects ever displayed at one time

A major exhibition across four venues – Dorset Museum (Dorchester), Poole Museum, The Salisbury Museum and Wiltshire Museum (Devizes)

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.

  • Four exhibitions, each exploring a different Hardy theme
  • A treasure trove of objects that give personal insights into Thomas Hardy’s life
  • Many of the objects have never been on public display before
  • Each exhibition has a star object on loan from a national museum

 

Hardy’s Wessex at Dorset Museum

The exhibition at each venue will be different – in Dorset Museum, it explores Hardy’s views on social tensions and animal welfare. Famous as a novelist, poet and social commentator, Hardy never lost touch with his experience of the working-class lives and poverty of rural Dorset.  Paintings, writing, costume and drawings will bring his writing and personality to life. The painting The Village Choir by Thomas Webster (loaned by the Victoria and Albert Museum), for example, provides a snapshot of the rural musicians Hardy grew up with and wrote about in his novels.

Hardy had family pets and designed and carved his dog, Wessex’s, tombstone himself. He was also deeply concerned about the welfare of animals and became friends with early animal rights activists. He wrote to the newspapers to protest against performing animals, wrote poems criticising blood sports, and published novels about the link between people and animals.

  • 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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Dorset Museum is part of the NPO (National Partnership Organisation) with Wessex Museums.

Wessex Museums is a charity that exists to build the resilience of partner museums and make them relevant to diverse audiences.

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This exhibition is supported by the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund.

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Rural Wessex

Wessex Words

Take part in our Wessex Words reading challenge this summer, inspired by our Hardy’s Wessex exhibition.

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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Special Exhibition

3 December 2022 - 26 February 2023

I Grew Up 80s

This winter visitors to Dorset Museum are invited to take a trip back in time with the nostalgia-filled exhibition I Grew Up 80s.

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ArtyFacts Workshop

3 December 2022, 2:00pm - 4:00pm

I Grew Up 80s ArtyFacts

Make your own 1980s style glasses and guitars, inspired by our I Grew Up 80s exhibition.

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Family Activity

3 December, 2:00pm - 4:00pm

I Grew Up 80s | Opening Disco

Travel back in time and celebrate the opening of our new exhibition- I Grew up 80s with a family-themed disco and family craft activities.

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Christmas Cracker

11 December 2022, 11:00am to 4:00pm

Meet the Superheros

Once again by popular demand, everyone’s favourite Science Fiction and Fantasy Movie and TV characters will be back at the Museum.

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Tours

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

Collections Discovery Centre Tour

Join our Collections Team for an opportunity to explore behind the scenes in the Museum’s Collections Discovery Centre.

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ArtyFacts Workshop

20 December 2022, 10:00am-12:00pm

Christmas ArtyFacts

Create your own Victorian Christmas inspired crafts and cards.

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ArtyFacts Workshop

22 December 2022, 10:00am-12:00pm

Christmas ArtyFacts

Make Victorian decoupage gift boxes, tags and tree decorations for your friends and family.

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ArtyFacts Workshop

27 December 2022, 10:00am-12:00pm

Christmas ArtyFacts

Create your own Victorian Christmas inspired crafts and cards.

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Survey of your visit

We hope you enjoyed your visit to the exhibition Hardy’s Wessex: The landscape that inspired a writer.

We would like to invite you to complete the survey in the link to help us understand your experience better and to improve our exhibitions in the future.

We look forward to seeing you again at Dorset Museum in the future.

Start Survey