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.
The Victorian Hall will be hosting a private event on Friday 10th June 2022, all day and Saturday 11th June 2022, 12 noon to 5:00 pm, and therefore will be closed to visitors.
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.
Come along to one of our special events for families, including themed make and take, arts and crafts, storytelling and more.
Our trails are designed to help families explore the collections together. Choose the Adventure Pack to discover amazing mosaics, go on our Nature Exploration in the Natural Dorset gallery or walk in Thomas Hardy’s Footsteps in the Hardy’s Dorset gallery.
Pick a trail up at the Welcome Desk when you get here.
Get hands-on with history as we bring real objects out of our stores and from behind glass. The trolley’s outings give you amazing opportunities to handle unique objects and look at them up close.
Throughout the new galleries, you can discover and explore our interactives designed for families to have fun and learn about the displays in a hands-on and memorable way.
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.
If your family needs some quiet time, just ask at the Welcome Desk about using our Calm Space on the Second Floor.
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.
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.
Designed to appeal to everyone, especially children who benefit from sensory activities. These backpacks come with fidget toys and resources to use in the galleries.
Ask at the Welcome Desk to borrow one when you get here, or email to book one ahead. There is a small refundable deposit of £5 to pay.
Borrow child or adult ear defenders at the Welcome Desk.
Accessible Gallery Resources
Large-print gallery text and braille guides are available at the Welcome Desk.
There are also audio points.
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.Find out more
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
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.Find out more
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.Find out more
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.Find out more
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.Find out more
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.Find out more
19 June 2022, 10:30am – 12:30pm
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.Find out more
22 June 2022, 7:30pm
Connaught Brass are quickly making a name for themselves as a fresh talent in the chamber music worldFind out more
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.
Gifts and Souvenirs
Remember your visit with a little something from our wonderful selection of pocket money goodies for all ages.