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Welcome to Dorset County Museum

Dorset County Museum is an independent museum. Owned and managed by the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society. Open to anyone with an interest in Dorset’s past.


The Education Department is responsible for the Museum's full range of learning experiences.

Dorset County Museum

Looking at the street frontage of Dorset County Museum, you could be forgiven for not realising just how much is contained inside!


For the very first time this exhibition brings together 70 of David West’s most important works from both private and public collections.

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Big teethDippy on Tour

The Natural History Museum’s famous Diplodocus, known as Dippy is touring the UK from early 2018.  And we’re thrilled to have been selected from hot competition as his first stop on that tour!

Among the best-known sauropods, Diplodocus were very large, long-necked, quadrupedal animals, with long, whip-like tails. Their fore limbs were slightly shorter than their hind limbs, resulting in a largely horizontal posture. The skeletal structure of these long-necked, long-tailed animals supported by four sturdy legs have been compared with suspension bridges. In fact, Diplodocus carnegii is currently one of the longest dinosaurs known from a complete skeleton, with a total length of 25 metres (82 ft). Modern mass estimates for Diplodocus carnegii have tended to be in the 10-to-16-metric-ton (11-to-18-short-ton) range. More information here

There will be lots of Dippy-themed events going on at the Museum and also across Dorset (thanks to our partners the Jurassic Coast Trust) that we’d love you to take part in.

The Museum Literary Gallery

Thomas Hardy

A Writer’s Dorset explores the lives and work of Dorset’s authors, poets and novelists, as well as providing a home to the Ooser - a strange beast (half-man, half-bull) who guards a room full of Dorset music and folk-drama.

Thomas Hardy is Dorset’s most famous writer. Born in a cottage near Dorchester, he received only a modest education but by the time of his death in 1928 had become the most famous writer in England.

A Writer’s Dorset celebrates Thomas Hardy’s achievement and tells the story of his life and work. It uncovers the landscape of his mind, which became the part-real, part imaginary Wessex of his books - their settings inseparable from the places that inspired them.

Dorset has provided motivation for a variety of other authors. Anglo-Saxon churchmen like Aldhelm and Asser wrote in the county at its great abbeys of Sherborne, Cerne and Forde. Twentieth century authors like Sylvia Townsend Warner and the Powys family took inspiration from the Dorset landscape and locality. In the 19th century the Dorsetshire poet, William Barnes, composed his lyrical poems – by turns humorous, tender or melancholy – in local dialect. John Meade Falkner’s novels include Moonfleet, an exciting Dorset smugglers’ tale.

A Writer’s Dorset explores their work and legacy as well as those of Jane Austen, William Wordsworth, Henry Fielding and Sir Walter Raleigh – shorter term residents who nevertheless have played an important part in creating Dorset’s rich literary heritage.

  • Monday to Friday 09:00 - 17:00
  • Saturday & Sunday 10:00 - 16:00
  • Bank Holidays CLOSED
  • Adults £6.50
  • Children £4.50
  • OAPs £4.50
Ticket Office Free School Sessions19th February 2018
Free School Sessions

Free sessions available

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