Dorset County Museum is independently owned and managed by the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society.

It has an eclectic range of works relating to the local area covering as diverse subject areas as archaeology, geology, social history, fine and decorative art, photography, natural history and costume and textiles.

Permanent collection

Highlights of the collection include the Moule Dry-Earth Closet which was selected by the BBC and the British Museum as one of the A History of the World in 100 Objects, the Reverend Henry Moule of Dorchester invented this composting toilet in 1859.
The floor of the Victorian Hall at the museum contains the Durngate Street Roman Mosaic Pavement and is one of the few places in Europe where you can actually walk on a Roman mosaic.
The museum has a strong collection of portraits including work by Gainsborough and Thomas Beach. Frederick Whitehead's scenery of Thomas Hardy's Wessex is well represented. From 1893 he travelled in Dorset for six months each year in his caravan, with his wife Beatrice who entered into the spirit of the lifestyle by dressing up as a gypsy and telling fortunes. There is also a portfolio of Hardy's Wessex views painted by John Everett, the Dorset-born artist and friend of Augustus John and Thomas Hardy.
 Included among the museum's sculpture collection is a maquette of Dorset-based Elisabeth Frink's Martyrs, commemorating all in the county who had died for their faith.

Dorset Museum

High West Street, Dorchester, Dorset, DT1 1XA

01305 262735


Opening times

Daily: 9.00am - 4.30pm.
Sunday: 10.00am - 4.00pm.
Bank Holidays: 10.00am - 4.00pm.

We have gained the Visit England ‘We’re Good To Go’ kitemark confirming we’re following national COVID 19 guidelines for managing visits to our site.

✔ Face masks must still be worn to keep you, our staff and our volunteers safe unless you are exempt!

✔ You must still check-in via the Track and Trace app.

✔ Sanitisation stations will still be in place and we encourage you to use them.

✔ Social distancing will remain.

✔ Regular cleaning of our interactive exhibits will still take place.

This guidance will stay in place until further notice.

With a National Art Pass you get

Free entry
Standard entry price

Price displayed is based on a standard venue entry price. Prices may vary according to ticket type and entry day/time.

Price correct at time of publication.

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