Dorset Museum is owned and cared for by members of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society.
A lively organisation of over 2,000 members, it was Dorset’s first conservation organisation being established to collect, preserve, research and exhibit objects relating to the archaeology, natural history, art, literature, and culture of Dorset.
Foundation of the Society
An independent Society, Dorset Natural History and Antiquarian Field Club was founded by James Buckman from the result of a meeting at the Digby Hotel, Sherborne on 16th March 1875. The Society was modelled on the Cotteswold Naturalists’ Field Club of which he had been a member. Buckman was the secretary of this club and editor of The Proceedings until his death in 1884.
The Field Club worked in friendly cooperation with the Museum Society for many years. The two organisations amalgamated in 1928, under the new title of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, owning and running the affairs of the Dorset Museum.
Portrait of James Buckman (1814-1884)
By Philipa Kemmis Rowe, c. 1840.
James Buckman with an ammonite by his side. Buckman studied these and other fossils from Dorset’s oldest rocks. He became a Professor of Botany, Geology, and Natural History, and had a keen interest in archaeology.
Daily: 9.00am - 4.30pm
Sunday: 10.00am - 4.00pm
Bank Holidays: 10.00am - 4.00pm
Annual Pass or Day Entry availableBook now
Dorset MuseumHigh West Street
Dorchester DT1 1XA
For more information
The pattern of governance for the Society and its Museum is set out in our Articles Of Association, which were last revised in September 2014.
In addition, there is a set of Regulations that covers operational and more routine matters within the governance of management of the Society and its Museum.
The Board has also developed a range of Policy Documents to guide the running of the Society and its Museum.For more information
The members elect a Board of twelve Trustees who are responsible for the overall strategy of the Society and the management of its Museum.Find out more
Every grant and donation helps us to do more for more people. Find out how you could make a difference.Get involved
Become A Member Today!
Become a member of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society today and get a deeper insight into 250 million years of Dorset’s history, while you help protect its rich heritage for future generations.
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
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
3 October 2022 - 8 February 2023
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
Who’s in the Next Room?
Poems by Thomas Hardy with new writing from Paul Hyland, Kate Scott, Catherine Simmonds & Pam Zinnemann-HopeFind out more
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
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.Find out more
13 October 2022, 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Museum after hours
Join us for an opportunity to explore the Museum at this free late openingFind out more
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.Find out more
21 October 2022, 7:00pm - 9:30pm
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