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.
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.
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.
21 July - 29 October 2023
Nature Heals | Photography by Trevor Parsons
Dorset Museum and Dorchester Arts co-present Nature Heals, an exhibition of nature photography by Trevor Parsons.Find out more
21 July - 29 October 2023
Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Wildlife Photographer of the Year, the world-famous exhibition from the Natural History Museum, is coming to Dorset Museum this summer.Find out more
4 August – 28 September 2023
The Askerswell Hoard
Discover a rare Roman coin hoard recently acquired by Dorset Museum, and find out about the work going on to preserve, research and catalogue it, in this special showcase display outside the Collections Discovery Centre.Find out more
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
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.