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.
18 February - 22 June 2023
The Art of Seeing: An exhibition of photographs by Dorchester Camera Club
The Club is delighted to have this opportunity to exhibit some of their members’ prints in the Dorset Museum together with an audio-visual presentation.Find out more
21 March 2023, 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
22 March - 25 June 2023
ARTIST ROOMS: Louise Bourgeois
Explore the work of Louise Bourgeois (1911–2010), one of the most important figures of modern and contemporary art. This spring Dorset Museum will show a major presentation of her work in this Artist Rooms touring exhibition featuring works jointly owned by Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland.Find out more
22 March 2023, 7:30pm
Cordiera Piano Trio
A varied programme ranging from J.S. Bach’s most revolutionary son to a vivid and exciting contemporary American work by way of two pillars of the standard chamber music repertoire.Find out more
23 March 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
23 March 2023, 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Joanna Quinn in conversation with Tracy Chevalier
Spend an evening with Joanna Quinn and best-selling author Tracy Chevalier as they discuss Quinn’s debut novel, The Whalebone Theatre, a brilliant coming-of-age story set in Dorset before and during World War II.Find out more
24 March 2023, 6:00pm - 9:00pm
This is Now
The Friendly Society of Artistic Labourers and Dorset Museum invites you to a spectacular showcase of contemporary art, design, media, music, and performance. Inspired by…Find out more
28 March 2023, 11:00am - 12:00noon
Dorset Museum Highlights Tour
Explore 250 million years of Dorset’s history in this volunteer-led highlights tour of Dorset Museum. Discover Roman mosaics, fossils from the Jurassic Coast, Thomas Hardy manuscripts and the sculptures of Elisabeth Frink – and plenty more along the way.Find out more
1 April 2023, 10:00am to 4:30pm
One day life painting pose
This is a structured class that will take students through the traditional monochrome underpainting approach to painting the figure in oils. Same pose all day…Find out more