Dorset Museums

> > Dorset County Museum

Dorset County Museum


A wealth of information about Dorset’s history and culture awaits visitors to Dorset County Museum.  Six Galleries covering 200 million years of the county’s history and natural environment  will enable every visitor to appreciate the richness of Dorset’s past and present.

The Ancient Dorset and the Jurassic Coast galleries are two of the popular Galleries.In the form of a tableau, The Ancient Dorset gallery displays the lives and artefacts that the many different peoples who lived on and around the South Dorset Ridgeway left.  Starting with the Ancient Britons it moves to the Romans, Saxons and Vikings.  See some of the wonderful jewellery that these peoples left, as well as pottery and many coins. On the walls and floor of the museum are mosaics excavated from some of the many roman villas found in the county.

In the Jurassic Coast gallery the fossilised jaw and skull of a huge Pliosaur has won the title of the ‘World’s biggest bite’. When it was alive this creature would have measured nearly 18m long!  Many other fossils from the museum’s extensive collection show the history of the Dorset Jurassic Coast.

Explore 6000 years of Dorchester’s history in the Dorchester Gallery. Starting from its earliest origins in the prehistoric era, follow the Town’s evolution to modern times.

In the Dorset Writers gallery is a reconstruction of the study where Thomas Hardy wrote a number of his famous novels when he lived at Max Gate. On the walls of the museum are many paintings that reflect the cultural life of the county through the ages.

The museum has its own tea room and gift shop where visitors can relax and enjoy a pot of tea or coffee and browse for unique gifts.

There are always new events and exhibitions at the museum, a definite must see attraction for visitors to Dorset.

Currently closed for redevelopment

Reopening 2021

Opening Times

April – October 10:00am - 5:00pm Monday – Saturday
24 July -to 11 September 10:00am - 5:00pm Sundays in 2016
November - March 10:00am - 4:00pm Monday - Saturday


Our programme for schools is designed to be challenging and reflect the joy of discovery. We use skilled, experienced practitioners to deliver content that is creative, fun and hands on. Linked to the national curriculum for KS1 and 2, all our sessions are built around the Museum’s inspirational collections, with a focus on building skills for learning. We offer access to original artefacts alongside expert knowledge on a range of topics for groups of up to 30 pupils. We are also keen to extend our offer by working with your school on your own project ideas, whatever the age range of your pupils.

Dinosaurs & Fossils


Stone Age to Iron Age

Roman Dorset

Iron Age & Roman Dorset


Museum facilities
Refreshments Tea Room
Gift shop  Yes
Toilets for Wheelchair Users   
Guided Tours   
Audio Tours   
Wheelchair Accessability  There is disabled access to the ground floor and to the Jurassic Coast Gallery on the first floor via a lift.
Induction Loop   
Facilities for the Blind / Visually Impaired   
Group Visits  
School Visits  
Outreach activities  



High West Street

Telephone number  01305 756827