Dorset Museum
Art Museums • History Museums
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9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
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About
Dorset Museum, a place to connect with 250 million years of Dorset’s history. We invite people from everywhere to discover and enjoy the richness of our county’s natural, historical and cultural heritage through our world-class collections. Reimagined galleries have been designed and curated to inspire, with Dorset’s stories creatively interpreted using beautiful, objects, hands-on interactive displays, and stunning audio-visual presentations. All contained within an architecturally striking, ecologically sustainable new building. The new Dorset Museum also places accessibility at the heart of the visitor experience with wheelchair access, toilets, baby changing facilities, and Changing Places Toilet. We believe everybody will find something here to interest, fascinate or inspire them. We hope it will ignite you with an appreciation of our county and a desire to explore it.
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
484 reviews
Excellent
262
Very good
163
Average
38
Poor
13
Terrible
8

Soberty
16 contributions
Oct 2021 • Couples
A well designed museum with some fascinating exhibits and displays using the latest technology to bring Dorset's history to life. Some great graphics used. Staff very knowledgeable too. The cafe is a little noisy but food and drink is good quality and service is very good.

Just one exhibit in the People's Gallery slightly spoilt our visit though. The noisy plastic rods used in the activity to leave a body's "impression" was so irritatingly loud that it was difficult to concentrate on the other exhibits. We couldn't hear the commentary on the video about the discovery of Viking skeletons. We ended up with a headache and left that gallery. A shame.
The chance to watch a conservator at work on the lower level was enlightening. A great bonus.

This museum is well worth a visit at £10 for an adult day ticket.
Written October 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Denise H
2 contributions
Aug 2022 • Family
There is so much to see here. My son won a season ticket so not sure how much it costs but it's the sort of place you need several trips to . It is really interactive, well thought out and child friendly. Some amazing artefacts, in particular the Roman collection including ancient mosaics that you can actually walk on! It is not crowded . Also a superb selection of fossils from the local Jurassic coast. As a Thomas Hardy enthusiast I spent a couple of hours in the room devoted to his life. It is well thought out . Great onsite cafe ( Taste) There are also temporary exhibitions. The one related to Weymouth ( called the Bussell collection I think) was fantastic.
Written August 7, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hi there, many thanks for your lovely review! We are so glad that you enjoyed your visit at Dorset Museum and hope to see you again soon.
Written November 14, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

P_n_R_Herts
Herts120 contributions
Jul 2021
Nicely laid out, excellent Thomas Hardy exhibition, and some nice social history and good exhibits, especially if you like ichthyosaurs, so worth a visit if you can stomach the entry cost. It’s all very well saying the entry price of £15 is for a year but for tourists that is a one-off charge. We were there for about an hour and a half, although you could spend two hours if you read the history of Dorset man in more detail (though maybe not with children – not enough dinosaurs).
Written July 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jude T
Exeter, UK2 contributions
May 2021
Very disappointed! Visiting for the weekend, the entry cost of £15 per adult/ £8 per child meant that our family were not able to enjoy the treasures within... This excludes many families on low incomes , which to my mind defeats the educational purpose of a County museum..
The cafe was lovely.
What's that sound? Thomas Hardy turning in his grave!
Written June 1, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hello, Thank you for taking the time to leave this review. Just to add balance the admission charge is for an annual pass meaning that you pay that price once and then can revisit for a whole year thereafter. This price for what you get to see for the money has been widely received as very good value by most of our visitors with very little exception. We hope that you will come in and see the treasures within someday and that your visit was worth it after all. Kind Regards, The Dorset Museum Team.
Written June 21, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

JLESLIE2013
Poole, UK7 contributions
Jun 2021
An entry charge of £15 per adult to this renovated museum is absolutely shocking and extortionate! £42 for a family beggars belief. To try to justify the charge by saying this covers entry for a year is pointless to many visitors from other areas or countries who will not return within a year. No consideration has been given to foreign visitors to Dorchester of which there are many as all information is in English only and no audio equipment is available to help them. I have visited the old museum many times and I did not find at this visit that the actual contents displayed have significantly improved. Information on the history of Maiden Castle which is such a significant Iron Age fort in Dorchester is minimal Money spent on the museum appears to have been concentrated on the building only. I will not be recommending the museum as it is now to friends and their families.
Written June 27, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Ned C
1 contribution
Jun 2021 • Family
They've done a lovely job on the old museum, but the cost of admission is ridiculous - £15 for a single adult, £42 for a family? For comparison, the Shire Hall just up the road is £9.50 and £20 - and even that is a lot for many people. No concessions for pensioners (though I gather that carers are free, which is something). Whoever was responsible for the refurbishment seems to have got carried away with the marketing and aesthetics of the thing and forgotten about ordinary visitors. In the long term I suspect they'll come to regret it.
Written June 18, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hello, Thank you for taking the time to leave this review. Just to add balance the £15 admission charge is for an annual pass meaning that you pay that price once and then can revisit for a whole year thereafter. This price for what you get to see for the money has been widely received as very good value by most of our visitors with very little exception. We do accept that times are hard and will look to adapt and review things in an ever-changing world. The overall price can't be seen as a comparison with other Museums locally as we are all very different organisations in terms of running costs which will make a difference. Kind Regards, The Dorset Museum Team.
Written June 21, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Babyalmie
Dorset, UK733 contributions
Jan 2022 • Solo
This is a lovely little museum which at £10 entrance or £15 annual entrance is excellent value. I spent a couple of happy hours here looking at the exhibits which are very well curated and looking though the books in the small but interesting library. The building itself is very well laid out with plenty to look at - the natural history section is excellent. The staff were wonderful - I didn’t have a pound coin for the lockers and one of the staff lent me one. Super service.
Well worth a visit.
Written January 3, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hi , many thanks for your lovely review! We are delighted that you enjoyed your experience and the service given when visiting Dorset Museum. We hope to see you again soon!
Written May 24, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

MrDartmoor
southampton, England.124 contributions
Jul 2021
A very modern museum, with lots of child friendly exhibits on 3 floors with excellent disabled access. Each room has a feature, one is solely for Thomas Hardy and we will be returning to see this in more detail. The staff were really helpful and explained 90% of what they have can’t be displayed.
The top floor is dedicated to art in Dorset and mostly one artist; interesting but with 90% undisplayed we thought more of this area could have been given over to other Dorset issues.
There is also a library upstairs dedicated to Natural History books, not sure how that works if you aren’t local.
We were happy to pay the entrance fee because we will be going back. However, if you are a tourist the one off cost wouldn’t look like good value.
There are least 2 other museums in the town, a Dorchester ‘all museums pass’ would make sense for a family on a wet day.
Has a cafe which we didnt visit.
Written July 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Rachel D
3 contributions
Apr 2022 • Family
I took 4 girls age range 3-13 for a visit to the Dorset Museum. It was a such fun with lots to touch and things to make. Really interactive. Older kids found the layout easy to follow the history. Total fascination with dinosaur skull, Roman mosaics, 50 dead Vikings bones and the great cafe meant we stayed much longer than anticipated. In fact the 6 and 7 year old wanted to stay longer but 3 year old was exhausted. We were lucky to have a visiting artist there who taught us how to make our own ammonite from card. A great place to visit. Much bigger than you would guess from the street frontage!
Written April 15, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hi , many thanks for your review! We are so glad that you and the children enjoyed your visit at Dorset Museum and all it has to offer. We hope to see you again soon!
Written May 24, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Happy-Customer-FS
Lyme Regis, UK10 contributions
Sep 2021 • Solo
Attended a talk wherethey shut the doors to a low ceilinged room, 20 people in there, no windows, overwhelmingly audience was 65+, meaning at higher risk of of covid. Presenter laughingly mentiomed masks at the end and pretty much made the few people wearing one feel ridiculous. Paid for the event and had to leave early as did not feel safe at all. Bad attitude. Museum overall is lovely however.
Written September 25, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hello, We have contacted you to talk through the concerns that you have raised. Many thanks.
Written September 27, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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Dorset Museum (Dorchester) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about Dorset Museum

Dorset Museum is open:
  • Sun - Sun 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Mon - Sat 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM