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
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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.
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
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
27 October 2023 5:00pm-9:00pm
Museums After Dark 2023
Discover three incredible Dorchester museums on one unforgettable night.Find out more