Families

From superb stories to terrific trails, there’s so much for families to enjoy at Dorset Museum.

Find out how to get involved now, and what’s coming up when we open.

Our new John White Learning Centre is the ideal place for all kinds of messy craft activities. The fun spills out into the galleries too, with tours, trails, object handling and special booked events. We want to make sure you have everything you need for a fun and friendly visit.

The information below will help you plan ahead.

Ooser Craft

  • 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


Useful Information

Getting here

Accessibility

Coming Up at the Museum

An exciting programme of family activities means there’s always something new to do at Dorset Museum. Look out for special events all year round, including fun for under-fives – a great way for grown-ups to enjoy the collections while keeping little explorers engaged. And our fascinating themed activities for school holidays will bring Dorset’s stories alive for everyone.

Activities

Making Family Visits Accessible

Everyone is welcome at Dorset Museum. Our Welcome Team is here to offer support and resources and help you make the most of your visit. Find them at the Welcome Desk on the Ground Floor.

Disabled Toilets
Changing Spaces Toilets

Facilities

Calm Space

If your family needs some quiet time, just ask at the Welcome Desk about using our Calm Space on the Second Floor.

Baby Care

Baby changing facilities are on the Ground Floor. Breastfeeding is welcome in the museum. If you’d like to use our Calm Space, just ask at the Welcome Desk.

Toilets

Accessible toilets are on the Ground, First and Second Floors. There’s a Changing Places Toilet on the Ground Floor.

Bags and Buggies

You are welcome to take buggies around the Museum. There is also a small buggy park behind the Welcome area, along with lockers. We cannot take any responsibility for the security of items left with us.

Hungry or Thirsty?

Our café has a great selection of fresh snacks, lunches and drinks for all ages. High chairs are available and our team there can heat bottles for little ones too. To protect our collections, we don’t allow food or drink in the galleries.

Additional Resources

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.

Find out more

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.

Find out more

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.

Find out more

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

Find out more

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.

Find out more

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.

Find out more

TASTE Café

Open daily 9.00am - 4.30pm | Sunday 10.00am - 4.00pm
Cafe

Hungry or Thirsty?

TASTE café at Dorset Museum has a great selection of fresh snacks, lunches, and drinks for all ages. High chairs are available and our team there can heat bottles for little ones too.

To protect our collections, we don’t allow food or drink in the galleries.

Shop

Dorset Museum Toys

Gifts and Souvenirs

Remember your visit with a little something from our wonderful selection of pocket money goodies for all ages.