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 public on May 28th, on the first year anniversary of Dorset Museum’s reopening. Hardy’s Wessex is a ground-breaking exhibition which spans Dorset Museum and its three partner museums in Dorset and Wiltshire.
The exhibition tells the story of Victorian novelist and poet, Thomas Hardy, amidst the Wessex landscapes that shaped his view of the world. It runs simultaneously at Dorset Museum, Poole Museum, The Salisbury Museum and Wiltshire Museum – each focussing on a different Hardy theme. Dorset Museum will focus on exploring themes of animal welfare and social tensions.
The exhibition was opened by Lord Julian Fellowes of West Stafford, DL, President of the Thomas Hardy Society. He said:
“After years of planning, I am delighted that this exhibition has finally come to fruition, displaying fascinating objects from the Thomas Hardy collection – many of which have remained unseen in museum stores for years. These personal items will help people come to know Hardy as a man, not just as a writer – a man who loved Wessex and so beautifully captured its landscapes and people in his writing.”
Dorset Museum’s Interim Director, Elizabeth Selby, said:
“The literary and cultural significance of Dorset Museum’s Thomas Hardy Memorial Collection cannot be understated, and we are delighted that it will be taking centre stage in this four venue exhibition. It is a wonderful opportunity to see more objects from the collection on display across the Wessex region at our partner venues, and for the story of Hardy’s interest in rural life, social tensions and animal welfare to be explored at Dorset Museum.”
Harriet Still, curator of the exhibition for Wessex Museums, said:
“It is so exciting to share this amazing collection across our museum partnership. We hope the exhibition will encourage visitors to see Hardy in a different light – for example, how he used his writing to campaign for rural workers’ rights, women’s equality and animal welfare, or his conflicting interests in superstition and science. Each exhibition sheds light on different aspects of Hardy’s life, work and character.”
Thanks to the Art Fund’s Weston Loan programme’ each museum also has a ‘star’ object loaned from national collections, including original manuscripts and nationally-important paintings. The majority of the other objects are from Dorset Museum’s Thomas Hardy Memorial collection, which is inscribed on the Unesco Memory of the World Register for its ‘world significance and outstanding universal value’.
Hardy’s Wessex opens from 28 May until 30 October 2022. Other venues across the two counties are also supporting the exhibition by putting on their own Hardy displays and events.Find out more
Friday 22 September 2023, The Victorian Hall will also be closed all day for a private function. The Fine Foundation Dorset Story Space, next the the Thomas Hardy's Dorset Gallery will also be closed for an hour around Midday.
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21 July - 29 October 2023
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4 August – 28 September 2023
The Askerswell Hoard
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6 October 2023, 10:00am -1:00pm,
Creative Journeys Through Time | 6 week art workshop with Helen Garrett
Designed for adults interested in art, prehistory and archaeology, and running as a six-week block, this course is an exciting opportunity to get up close with some extraordinary artefacts in the collection at Dorset Museum.Find out more
9 October 2023, 2:00pm to 4:30pm
Life Drawing at Dorset Museum – Eight-week course led by James Meiklejohn
This eight-week structured course is suitable for complete beginners to those with some experience.Find out more
10 October 2023, 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Wildlife friendly gardening | Mitch Perkins
Would you like to make your garden more wildlife friendly? Join Mitch Perkins to find out how.Find out more
19 October 2023, 5:00pm - 6:30pm
FREE | Museum After Hours
Join us for an opportunity to explore the Museum at this FREE late opening.Find out more
19 October 2023, 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Real Dorset | Jon Woolcott
In this lecture, let Jon Woolcott take you on an amusing whistle-stop tour through some of the discoveries and oddities that make Dorset unique.Find out more
25 October 2023, 2:00pm - 2:45pm
Collections Discovery Centre Tour
Join our Collections Team for an opportunity to explore behind the scenes in the Museum’s Collections Discovery Centre.Find out more