Dorset Museums

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Dorset Museum


Come and explore 250 million years of history at the Dorset Museum!

Located in the centre of Dorchester this award-winning Museum is one of the cultural centres of Dorset with four themed galleries, special exhibitions area, library and café.

Our Natural Dorset gallery reveals the secrets of the county’s geology, landscapes, habitats and wildlife.

Discover the work and life of Dorset-born novelist and poet Thomas Hardy and draw on the world's largest Thomas Hardy collection, which is on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register. The Hardy’s Dorset gallery also includes a replica of his study at Max Gate.

People’s Dorset starts in the Palaeolithic and travels through half a million years of people's history. Marvel at spectacular Bronze Age gold, finds from Iron Age Maiden Castle, treasures from Roman Dorchester, and objects that reveal much more recent stories of Dorset's people.

Artists’ Dorset has paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, textiles, and fine and decorative art from the Museum’s collection including works by the artist Elisabeth Frink.

Do look at our website for latest information.


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

Parking: The Museum has a set-down point, but no car park. The nearest car park of substantial size is the Top o’ Town, just beyond the roundabout at the top of High West Street. It has six accessible spaces in total. The museum is a five-minute walk (500 metres) along High West Street on an even tarmac surface.

Refreshments Café
Gift shop Yes
Gardens/Grounds Yes
Toilets Yes
Toilets for Wheelchair Users Yes
Guided tours Yes
Audio tours Yes
Wheelchair Accessibility Yes
Induction loop  
Facilities for the Blind / Visually Impaired / Deaf Yes
Group Visits Yes
School Visits Yes
Outreach activities Yes


Dorset County Museum
High West Street
Dorchester DT1 1XA

Tel: 01305 262735