Dorset County Museum
High West Street,
Dorchester.
Tel: (01305) 262735
Admission charged.

The museum contains exhibits collected since 1845 by the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society. A state of the art gallery on Thomas Hardy and other Dorset authors opened in 1996. This museum receives a substantial annual grant from Dorset County Council.

Beaminster Museum.
Whitcombe Road,
Beaminster.
Tel: (01308) 862773
Admission free.

A new museum in the making housed in an old congregational church. Displays feature the town with its historic buildings, the history of the chapel, and family history including the Hine Cognac family who came from the town.

Blandford Forum Museum
Market Place
Blandford
Admission charged.

Local history from pre-historic times.

Brewers Quay Museum
Hope Square
Weymouth
Dorset
DT4 8TR
Tel: (01305) 777622
Fax: (01305) 761680
Admission Charged

The Weymouth Museum and Timewalk occupies the old Devenish Brewery in the town. The history of the area is recorded, including the arrival of the Black Death in the UK, the Spanish Armada, and Royal Patronage by King George III.

Bridport Museum
South Street
Bridport
Tel: (01308) 422116
Admission charged.

Local history in a fine Tudor buildings including maps, censuses and family histories. Includes nearby Museum of Net Manufacture, an important local industry.

The Coach House Museum
Langton Matravers
Swanage
Tel: (01929) 423168
Admission charged

The Museum is run by the Langton Matravers Local History and Preservation Society and is staffed by volunteers. Why not drop in whilst you are in Purbeck and learn about the conditions endured by those who quarried the stone from underground workings, and discover why open-cast methods are now used? You will find us behind the Parish Church of St. George in the centre of Langton Matravers village. Car Parking is free.

Dinosaur Museum
Icen Way
Dorchester
Tel: 01305 269880
Admission charged

A visit to The Dinosaur Museum is fun and exciting and a treat for all the family. Among the most popular exhibits are the awesome life-size dinosaur reconstructions. Tyrannosaurus rex - the fierce meat-eater, Stegosaurus with its strangely shaped ridge of plates, Corythosaurus (affectionately known as 'Dina' by her many fans), and outside Triceratops. They beg to be touched by little hands - and that's encouraged.

See Dinosaurid - the weirdest dinosaur possible - and a star of a recent Blue Peter programme. Watch out for the special exhibition on Tyrannosaurus rex - the king of dinosaurs this summer. 150 years after people's imaginations first became excited by dinosaurs they continue to fascinate and enthrall. This sense of 'dinomania' is very much alive at The Dinosaur Museum.

Dinosaurland
Coobe Street
Lyme Regis
Tel: 01297 443541
Admission charged

Fossil exhibition with displays, video and children's corner. Ask here for Fossil Beach Guided Walks and Undercliff Experience.

Gillingham Museum
Chantry Fields
Gillingham
Tel: (01747) 822173
Admission charged.

A new Museum has been built adjoining the new County Library in Chantry Fields, helped by funds from UK National Lottery. The exhibition covers the town's past from the prehistoric period through the occupation of early man, Romans, Saxons and the Medieval Royal Forest. The artist John Constable visited Gillingham on a number of occasions and copies of his works are on show. The Victorian development and industrialization triggered around the coming of the railway and the town's history up to the second world war is illustrated in a series of displays.

Harbour Museum
West Bay
Bridport
Tel: (01308) 420997

A converted salt house telling story of rope and net making, which are important local industries.

The Keep Military Museum
Bridport Road
Dorchester
Tel: (01305) 264066
Fax: (01305) 250373Admission charged

A recently renovated museum with all displays new and Dorchester's most spectacular views from the battlements. Although the building looks like a traditional castle it was only built in 1879 as the gatehouse to the Dorsetshire Regimental Depot. The displays cover the local regular and volunteer units and they illuminate the changing fashions portrayed in the uniforms, weapons, equipment, medals, paintings and old photographs.

Lyme Regis Philpot Museum
Bridge Street
Lyme Regis
Tel: (01297) 443370
Admission charged

The Museum stands in the heart of the town, just where the beautiful coastlines of Dorset and Devon meet. The building has great idiosyncratic charm. Built in 1900-01 by Thomas Philpot it was badly dilapidated by 1991, and a major scheme of reconstruction and extension followed by new displays throughout, has recently been completed. From the beginning, the Museum has been run entirely by volunteers, a tradition we still cherish today. We are now a fully independent Museum, registered with the Museums and Galleries Commission.

The Museum of East Dorset Life, and Garden
The Priest's House
High Street
Wimborne
Tel: (01202) 882533
Admission Charged

An award-winning museum set in a historic house with a walled garden. period rooms tell the story of the people of East Dorset and Wimborne.

The Nothe Fort
Barrack Road
Weymouth
Tel: (01305) 787243
Admission charged.

The Fort which comprises over 70 rooms on three levels (Ramparts, Courtyard and Magazines) was built in 1860 as part of the defense of Portland Harbour and was designed and constructed by the Royal engineers to house a 12 gun battery of massive canons. Later adapted for modern guns, it remained in active service until 1956 when coastal Defense was abandoned. it was sold in 1961 to Weymouth and Portland Borough Council and has been restored and opened to the public by Weymouth Civic Society, assisted by the Council. In 1994 it attracted over 72,000 visitors.

Today it contains some 30 large displays (many activated and complete with sound and smell) with over 150 life size dummy figures, 11 dioramas and a multitude of ship, aircraft and tank models and photographs and exhibits, all of which illustrate service life in the Fort in the past, history as seen from the Nothe headland, and the part played by the people of Weymouth in the Second World War.

Portland Museum
Wakeham
Portland
Tel: (01305) 821804
Admission charged.

The Museum, founded in 1930 is housed in two thatched cottages nestling above Church Ope Cove. One cottage inspired the author Thomas Hardy to centre his famous novel "The Well-Beloved" around it, making the cottage the home of Avice, one of the novel's heroines. Today, as a museum, it houses the Island's Shipwreck Exhibition and Smuggling artifacts. The adjoining cottage is also packed with exhibits whilst the Gallery unfolds the Island's history. Bring a picnic and enjoy the garden with its unique and comprehensive fossil collection or browse in the well stocked specialist shop. An added feature is the `Talking Museum' for the partially sighted and enhanced videos for the partially deaf.

The Red House Museum
Quay Road
Christchurch
Tel: (01202) 482860
Admission charged

A museum with lots of variety and countless interesting objects - local history, geology, natural history and archaeology, reflecting the national importance of the archaeological and wildlife sites of the area, all housed in Christchurch's former Workhouse for the poor. An outstanding display of costume, with temporary displays of contemporary art and other subjects. An archive is in the process of being set up with material relating to the US Thunderbird Squadron that served at Christchurch Airfield during World War II, as well as information on the De Haviland aircraft built there.

Formal gardens with many types of herbs, and secluded informal gardens with old fashioned English roses, shrubs and trees.

Royal Signals Museum
Blandford Camp
Blandford
Tel: (01258) 482248
Admission charged

The Royal Signals Museum began at Catterick Camp in Yorkshire in 1938 and transferred to Blandford Camp in 1967. It contains artifacts dealing with the story of army communications from the Crimean War to the present day, as well as the history of both the Royal Corps of Signals and its antecedents, and Blandford Camp.

The exhibits are used to illustrate the part played by army signals in military campaigns since the middle of the nineteenth century and the development of British military telegraph, telephone, radio and data retrieval systems.

The Museum's library and archives contain books, journals, technical handbooks, manuscripts, photographs, film and sound recordings relating to the history of Royal Signals personnel and units, and to the operation of the electric signaling equipment used by the British Army since 1854.

The Museum is sign posted off the B3082 Blandford to Wimborne Road and is open Monday to Friday all year from 10am to 5pm and at weekends in June to September from 10am to 4pm. The library and archives can be consulted by prior appointment with the archivist, telephone 01258 482413, on weekdays.

Rural Bygones Museum
Tythe Barn
Abbotsbury

The magnificent 15th Century Tithe Barn, one of the largest of its kind in England, is virtually all that remains of the former Abbey of St Peter. The interior of the barn, spectacular in its own right, now houses agricultural bygones. This beautiful collection carefully reconstructs the scenes of a bygone age. The Farm workers Kitchen, Gamekeeper, Reaper, Animal Doctor and Blacksmith are just a few of the many exhibits that vividly portray the ingenuity and hardships of the days before.

Russell Coates Art Gallery and Museum
East Cliff
Bournemouth
Tel: (01202) 451800
Admission Free.

In an extravagant version of an Italianate seaside villa, the Russell Coates collection includes many Victorian and 20th Century paintings.

Shaftesbury Abbey Museum
Park Walk
Shaftesbury
Tel: (01747) 852910
Admission charged

The ruins of Alfred the Great's Benedictine Abbey, founded in 888AD. The museum houses a fascinating collection of carved stonework and medieval floor tiles. In the garden is a reconstructed Anglo-Saxon herb bed.

Sherborne Museum
Abbey Gate House
Sherborne
Tel: (01935) 812252
Admission Charged

The Museum, with over 15,000 items of local history, is in the heart of the town and close to the 8th Century Saxon Abbey. Among its exhibits are a case containing items associated with the Abbey; a scale model of Sherborne Old Castle; a Victorian Dolls' House; a display of the Sherborne silk industry since 1753; selected items from some 1000 items of costume wear dating from 1630 to the present Century; a fine medieval wall painting (c.1480); and a selection of rural implements.

Sturminster Newton Mill and Museum
Bath Road
Sturminster Newton
Tel: (01747) 854355
Admission charged

18th century working mill, on banks of River Stour, with complimentary exhibits.

The Tank Museum
Bovington
Dorset
BH20 6JG
Tel: (01929) 405096
Admission charged.

Established in 1923, it is the world's leading museum devoted to military vehicles with over 300 exhibits up to modern times. Includes a collection on Lawrence of Arabia who was stationed at the adjoining Bovington Army Camp when he was killed. The Tank Museum library is considered one of the best of it's kind. It's wide ranging archives provide a vital & unique source of information, both technical and historical, on all aspects of armored warfare. Services available to authors, historians, modelers and vehicle restorers include photographs, scale drawings and maintenance manuals. The library also holds the majority of War Diaries for British armored regiments in both World Wars and a wealth of other documents including personal papers and intelligence reports on captured equipment.

Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum
TUC Memorial Cottages
Tolpuddle
Tel: (01305) 848237
Admission free

Opened in 1934, to commemorate the centenary of six agricultural workers transported to Australia for 'unlawful assembly'. Widely recognised as the birthplace of Trades Unions.

Teddy Bear House
Antelope Walk,
Dorchester.
Telephone 01305 263200

"Join Mr. Edware Bear and his large family of human-size teddy bears in their quaint old house as they relax in the home or busy themselves in the Old Dorset Teddy Bear Factory."

 Tutankhamun
The Exhibition,
High West Street,
Dorchester.
Telephone 01305 269571

"The world's greatest discovery of ancient treasure - Tutankhamun's tomb and treasures - is superbly re-created through sight, sound and smell in this amazing exhibition."

 Wareham Museum
East Street
Wareham
Tel: (01929) 553448
Admission free.

Local town history and collection of Lawrence of Arabia's photographs and ephemera.

 Waterfront and Scaplens Court Museum
4 High Street
Poole
Tel: (01202) 683138
Admission charged.

To discover more about Poole's history, a visit to the Waterfront and Scaplens Court Museum, located just a stone's throw behind the Quay, is a must. The museum offers an insight into Poole life through the ages, its seafaring past, traditional trades of the town through to contemporary crafts and much, much more. This Museum certainly bring history to life in an exciting and fun environment.

 A World of Toys
Arne
Wareham
Tel: (01929) 552018
Admission charged.

A collection of antique and collectors toys and musical boxes and automata.

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