The Museums of Dorset
Based in thatched 17th century cottages above Church Ope Cove, a known location from Thomas Hardy's novel 'The Well Beloved' (for other locations please go to our Thomas Hardy page). The museum has exhibitions on shipwrecks and smuggling, the Royal Manor of Portland and its rich tradition of quarrying, has a fossil collection, garden, picnic area and shop.
Opening times are between Easter - September: Friday to Tuesday 10.30am - 1pm and 2pm - 5pm.^ Back to top
Located beside Weymouth's Old Harbour is Brewers Quay, a remodeled brewery housing an array of attractions and more than 20 specialty shops. Inside the Brewers Quay is the Weymouth Museum, which is free of charge to enter. The Museum features the town's social, economic and maritime history.
One of the more popular attractions at Brewers Quay is the Timewalk and Brewery Days attraction. Visitors follow in the footsteps of Miss Paws, the brewery cat, and her feline ancestors, to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of six hundred years of Weymouth and Portland's fascinating past. The tour concludes at the tastings bar, where visitors have the opportunity to sample ales brewed on site by the Quay Brewery.^ Back to top
Tudor House, built circa 1600, originally stood on the edge of an inlet from the harbour and is thought to have been a merchant's house. It is furnished as the home of an early seventeenth century middle class family and the guided tours explain aspects of the life of the times.
A tour of the house gives a fascinating insight into the history of Weymouth in the early seventeenth century during the heyday of Weymouth as a port for trade and exploration. Guides describe the domestic daily life of the times, including furniture and clothing, cooking and serving of food, lighting and candle making^ Back to top
Bovington Tank Museum
The Tank Museum has the best collection of tanks in the world. From the first tank ever built to the modern Challenger II, the Museum's definitive collection comprises over 250 vehicles and supporting artefacts from all over the world. They also have a series of special events and live action tank displays throughout the year.^ Back to top
Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum
The Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum tells the harrowing tale of the Martyrs arrest, trial and punishment, leading to the foundation of modern day trade unionism. The museum has been re-designed into a modern, informative, and educational exhibition. The museum sets out the Martyrs' story in four sections: Before the arrest, The Oath and Betrayal, Transportation, and the Homecoming.
The museum evolved out of the library which formed part of the Tolpuddle Martyrs Memorial Cottages, built in 1934 to mark the Centenary of the Martyrs' conviction. Visitors can now discover for themselves how the Tolpuddle Martyrs changed the face of social history and, through their beliefs and actions, made such an impact on trade unionism today.^ Back to top
Lyme Regis Museum
The Museum stands in the heart of Lyme Regis, just where the beautiful coastlines of Dorset and Devon meet. The museum was built in 1900-01 Thomas Philpot but by 1991 after many years of decay a major scheme of reconstruction and extension followed by new displays throughout. Today the Philpot Museum is now a fully independent Museum, registered with the Museums and Galleries Commission.
Although small, the collections are unusually rich. Lyme’s lively local history is well represented by maritime and domestic objects, and illustrated by paintings, prints and photographs. The area is noted for its fossils, displayed in our geological galleries, and the town's literary connections, from Jane Austen to John Fowles, are illustrated in the Writers Gallery.
Easter to 31 October - Monday to Saturday: 10.00-17.00, Sunday: 11.00-17.00
1 November to Easter - Wednesday to Sunday 11.00-16.00 (and daily in school holidays).
Royal Signals Museum
The Royal School of Signals museum is located in Blandford and has displays dealing with the history of army communications, as well as the history of the Royal Corps of Signals.
It is the national museum of Army communications and the exhibits and displays show the part that communications have played in the many wars and campaigns of the last 150 years. The Museum collection is regarded as being of National importance and the excellent Archives are recognised by the Public Record Office. There are many interactive displays and fun trails for younger visitors. The museum tells the story of military communications from the Napoleonic Wars onwards.^ Back to top
Britain's original award winning Dinosaur Museum located in Dorchester, the only museum on mainland Britain dedicated to dinosaurs. The Dinosaur Museum is a treat, especially for children. The museum combines life-sized reconstructions of dinosaurs with fossils and dinosaur skeletons to create an exciting hands-on experience. Multimedia displays tell the story of the giant prehistoric animals and their enthralling world millions of years ago.
Life-size reconstructions - including the dinosaur T rex, Stegosaurus, and Triceratops - beg to be touched by little hands - that’s encouraged. Acclaimed as one of Britain's Top Ten Family Museums in 2006, the Dinosaur Museum is open all year round except over the Christmas period.^ Back to top
This World Heritage Exhibition, currently shown in Dorchester, is the original Tutankhamun Exhibition established following the the success of the Treasures of Tutankhamun Exhibition at the British Museum London. It features Tutankhamun's major treasures meticulously recreated, wherever possible, in their original materials. In addition, the ante-chamber and burial chamber Tutankhamun's tomb have been accurately recreated together with all the tomb furniture and treasures making it possible for you to experience the wonder of discovery and enter the tomb just as Howard Carter did when he discovered it in 1922.
The Tutankhamun Exhibition is the only exhibition outside Egypt where you can see an exact anatomical recreation of Tutankhamun's mummy. The mummy took over two years of research and experimentation to recreate, following x-rays and measurements of Tutankhamun's mummy which still lies in his tomb and which cannot be seen by the public. The Tutankhamun Exhibition features amongst many wonderful treasures: The Golden Mask of Tutankhamun, The Golden Throne of Tutankhamun, Tutankhamun's mummy. The Golden figure of Tutankhamun the Harpooner. A selection of Tutankhamun's jewels is also displayed.^ Back to top
This small but inspiring exhibition on the Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor of China's famous Terracotta Army brings together all the wonder of the discovery of these amazing treasures of ancient China. Over 8000 fantastic life-size clay warriors protected his tomb. The Famous Terracotta Army - is now referred to as the eighth wonder of the ancient world.
The exhibition at the Terracotta Warriors Museum in Dorchester features a small but spectacular group of these warriors, which have been specially replicated by museum and conservation technicians in China, and skilled craftsmen and specialists of World Heritage. Also featured in the Museum are fabulous costumed recreations of the First Emperor of China, Qin Shih Huang di, himself and his uniformed officers.^ Back to top
Dorset County Museum
The Dorset County Museum celebrates the story of Dorset's rich landscape in a range of fascinating displays. The Museum was founded in 1846 to help protect and record the county's unique historical and natural environment. Visitors to the Museum can find out about local writers, history, archaeology, geology and the natural sciences in one of the Museum's many galleries. There are also video displays, activity carts for children and an audio-guide to take you round the exhibits.
The Museum is housed in a beautiful, gothic-style building, which dates from 1884. Its diverse collections include Roman mosaics, original Thomas Hardy manuscripts and fossilised dinosaur footprints.
The Museum is an ideal place to come if you are visiting Dorset, and a great place for local people to find out more about where they live. The Temporary Exhibition Gallery is used to show a broad programme of exhibitions, covering a variety of topics, from art and photography to literature and the Natural Sciences. Exhibitions change at regular intervals.
10.00am - 5.00pm Monday - Saturday (October - June)
10.00am - 5.00pm Monday - Sunday (July - September)
Teddy Bear Museum
The Dorset Teddy Bear Museum is Dorchester's unmissable family museum, with Edward Bear and his family of people-sized bears, in Teddy Bear House. From the earliest antique teddy bears to today's TV favourites they are all waiting to greet you in this enchanting Teddy Bear Museum.^ Back to top
To bring your group to the Heights Hotel so that you can explore the museums of Dorset, please call Jenny or Kathy to discuss your personal requirements on 01305 821361.
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