List of museums in Dorset

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This list of museums in Dorset, England contains museums which are defined for this context as institutions (including nonprofit organizations, government entities, and private businesses) that collect and care for objects of cultural, artistic, scientific, or historical interest and make their collections or related exhibits available for public viewing. Also included are non-profit art galleries and university art galleries. Museums that exist only in cyberspace (i.e., virtual museums) are not included.

To use the sortable table, click on the icons at the top of each column to sort that column in alphabetical order; click again for reverse alphabetical order.

Name Image Town/City Region Type Summary
Anvil Point Lighthouse Anvil point lighthouse durlston dorset.jpg Swanage Purbeck Maritime Lighthouse open for tours, located within Durlston Country Park
Athelhampton AthelhamptonHouse.jpg Dorchester West Dorset Historic house 15th-century manor house and gardens
Beaminster Museum Beaminster West Dorset Local website, local history, archaeology, agriculture
Bennetts Water Gardens Chickerell West Dorset Multiple 8-acre (32,000 m2) garden, collection of water lilies, local history museum
Blandford Fashion Museum Blandford North Dorset Fashion website, costumes and accessories from the 1730s to the 1970s
Blandford Town Museum Blandford North Dorset Local website, local history, trades, archaeology, military, railway
Bridport Museum Bridport West Dorset Local website, local history, textiles, fossils, art
Bournemouth Aviation Museum Aircraft outside the Bournemouth Air Museum, Hurn. - - 348820.jpg Hurn Christchurch Aviation Airplanes, engines, cockpits, a double-decker bus
Bournemouth Natural Science Society Bournemouth Bournemouth Natural history website, open for events and open house days, includes preserved plants, birds, mammals, reptiles, insects, eggs and shells, fossils, rocks and minerals, archaeological artifacts and an Egyptology collection
Bournemouth University Atrium Gallery Bournemouth Bournemouth Art website, works by both university students and contributing artists
Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre.jpg Charmouth West Dorset Natural history Fossils and rocks of the Jurassic Coast
Chettle House Chettle North Dorset Historic house information, 18th century Queen Anne house and gardens
Clouds Hill Clouds Hill - - 13321.jpg Wareham Purbeck Historic house Operated by the National Trust, former home of T. E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia")
Corfe Castle Town Museum Corfe Castle Purbeck Local website, local history, geology, marble industry
Dinosaur Museum Dinosaur Museum - - 53366.jpg Dorchester West Dorset Natural history Dinosaurs, full size models, fossils of the Jurassic Coast
Dinosaurland Fossil Museum Segnosaurus nest 2.jpg Lyme Regis West Dorset Natural history Local Jurassic marine fossils, dinosaurs, geology of the Jurassic Coast, shells, evolution
Dorset County Museum Dorset County Museum - - 32713.jpg Dorchester West Dorset Multiple Local history, natural history, art, archaeology, agriculture, author Thomas Hardy, fossil and dinosaurs
Dorset Teddy Bear Museum Dorchester West Dorset Toy Teddy bears
Fiddleford Manor Fiddlefordmanor.jpg Sturminster Newton North Dorset Historic house Operated by English Heritage, medieval small stone manor house
Forde Abbey Chard West Dorset Historic house Former Cistercian monastery, house and gardens
TheGallery at Arts University Bournemouth Bournemouth Bournemouth Art website, contemporary art gallery
Gillingham Museum Gillingham North Dorset Local website, local history, trades, geology, industry
Gold Hill Museum Shaftesbury North Dorset Local website, local history, culture, industry
Grove Prison Museum Isle of Portland Weymouth and Portland Prison History of HM Prison Portland[1]
Highcliffe Castle Highcliffe Castle 2.jpg Highcliffe Christchurch Historic house 19th century Romantic and Picturesque style castle, grounds laid out by Capability Brown
Keep Military Museum The Keep Military Museum, Dorchester, Dorset-16Sept2009.jpg Dorchester West Dorset Military History of the regiments of Dorset and Devon
Kingston Lacy Kingston Lacy - - 101860.jpg Wimborne Minster East Dorset Historic house Operated by the National Trust, 17th-century house with fine art, Egyptian artifacts, lavish interiors, gardens
Langton Matravers Museum Langton Matravers Purbeck Local website, local history, geology, limestone industry
Lulworth Castle Lulworth Castle 01.jpg East Lulworth Purbeck Historic house 17th century mock castle manor house
Lyme Regis Marine Aquarium Lyme Regis West Dorset Natural history website, local fish and marine life of the Jurassic coast, history of The Cobb harbour wall
Lyme Regis Museum Lyme Regis Museum 01.JPG Lyme Regis West Dorset Multiple Fossils, geology, Jane Austen, local history, maritime heritage, writers and artists, formerly known as the Philpot Museum
Mangerton Mill Bridport West Dorset Mill information, 3 story watermill
Mapperton House Beaminster West Dorset Historic house Elizabethan manor house and gardens
Max Gate Max Gate Dorchester.jpg Dorchester West Dorset Historic house Operated by the National Trust, home of author Thomas Hardy
Museum of Design in Plastics Bournemouth Bournemouth Art website, collection of the library of the Arts University Bournemouth, international, historical and contemporary design examples of plastic items and uses
Nothe Fort Nothe Fort entrance.jpg Weymouth Weymouth and Portland Military 19th-century fort with important role in World War II, memorabilia, vehicles
Place Mill Christchurch Christchurch Mill website, restored Anglo-Saxon watermill, art gallery
Poole Museum Poole Museum Entrance.jpg Poole Poole Local Local history, ceramics and Poole Pottery, archaeology, maritime and social history, local trades and industries, costume and textiles; formerly known as the Waterfront Museum
Poole Old Lifeboat Museum and Shop Poole Poole Maritime Former lifeboat station and historic lifeboat
Portland Bill Lighthouse Portland Bill Lighthouse - - 24037.jpg Isle of Portland Weymouth and Portland Maritime Lighthouse open for tours
Portland Castle Portland castle closeup.jpg Weymouth Weymouth and Portland Military Operated by English Heritage, 16th century armed castle fort
Portland Museum Ammonite.600pix.jpg Isle of Portland Weymouth and Portland Local Local history, geology, maritime heritage, archaeology
Priest's House Museum Wimborne Minster East Dorset Historic house Rooms furnished in different periods, local history, archaeology
Purbeck Mineral and Mining Museum Corfe Castle Purbeck Mining Located at the Norden railway station, history and equipment for ball clay mining
Red House Museum, Dorset Red House Museum Christchurch Dorset.JPG Christchurch Christchurch Local information, information, local and social history, natural history, geology, archaeology, costumes
Royal Signals Museum Typex-blandford-processed.jpg Blandford Forum North Dorset Military National museum of army communications
Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum RussellCotesExterior1.jpg Bournemouth Bournemouth Art Fine art and Japanese art in a Victorian mansion
Scaplens Court Museum Poole Poole History website, medieval building used for education programs, special domestic life demonstrations in August
Shaftesbury Abbey Museum Shaftesbury Abbey 3.jpg Shaftesbury North Dorset Religious Artifacts from the ruins of a 15th-century Benedictine nunnery
Sherborne Castle Sherborne Castle 03.jpg Sherborne West Dorset Historic house Operated by English Heritage, 16th-century Tudor mansion and gardens
Sherborne House Arts Bridport West Dorset Art website, art gallery of the Bridport Arts Centre
Sherborne Museum Sherborne Museum.jpg Sherborne West Dorset Local Local history, trades, industry, household items
Sherborne Steam & Waterwheel Centre Sherborne West Dorset Technology website, restored 19th century waterwheel used to deliver town's water, formerly known as the Castleton Waterwheel Museum
Shire Hall Dorset Dorchester West Dorset Prison website, also known as Old Crown Court and Cells, courtroom, cells and stocks restored to appear as during the trial of the Tolpuddle Martyrs in 1834
Stock Gaylard Sturminster Newton North Dorset Historic house website, small Georgian country house, gardens and estate
Sturminster Newton Mill Sturminster Newton North Dorset Mill website, working watermill
Sturminster Newton Museum Sturminster Newton North Dorset Local website, local history, culture
Sutton Poyntz Water Supply Museum Weymouth Weymouth and Portland History website, history of water supplying, natural history of watersheds, operated by Wessex Water Services
Swanage Museum Swanage Purbeck Local website, local history, geology and history of the Jurassic Coast, stone industry, local development of early radar in the UK during World War II
Swanage Railway Corfe Castle railway station 2.JPG Corfe Castle Purbeck Railway Heritage railway and museum located in the converted Goods Shed in Corfe Castle railway station
The Tank Museum Bovingtonpano.jpg Wool Purbeck Military Tanks and armored vehicles
Terracotta Warriors Museum Dorchester West Dorset History website, replicas of warriors of the Terracotta Army found in China in 1974
Thomas Hardy's Cottage Thomas Hardy's cottage (in 2005).jpg Higher Bockhampton West Dorset Historic house Operated by the National Trust, birthplace of author Thomas Hardy
Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum Tolpuddle martyrs museum.jpg Tolpuddle West Dorset History Trade union history of 19th-century English agricultural labourers who were convicted of swearing a secret oath as members of the Friendly Society of Agricultural Labourers
Town Mill, Lyme Regis Lyme Regis West Dorset Mill website, restored working watermill, complex also houses art galleries, a café/restaurant, craft studios and workshops, a bakery, a mill shop and the Miller's garden
Tudor House Weymouth Weymouth and Portland Historic house Early 17th century period merchant's house, operated by the Weymouth Civic Society
Tutankhamun Exhibition Dorchester West Dorset History Re-creation of the tomb of the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun
Wareham Town Museum Wareham museum ext.jpg Wareham Purbeck Local Local history, T. E. Lawrence, archeology, local pottery
Weymouth Museum Brewers Quay Weymouth.jpg Weymouth Weymouth and Portland Local Part of Brewers Quay, local history, culture, maritime history
White Mill, Sturminster Marshall Sturminster Marshall East Dorset Mill website, operated by the National Trust, part of the Kingston Lacy estate, restored watermill
Wolfeton House Charminster West Dorset Historic house Early Tudor and Elizabethan manor house

Defunct museums

  • Discovery, interactive hands-on science exhibits, formerly part of Brewers Quay
  • Museum of Electricity, Christchurch, closed indefinitely in 2012[2]
  • Timewalk, formerly located in Brewers Quay, exhibits on 600 years of local history and the brewing heritage of the building

See also


  1. "Grove Prison Museum". Portland History. Retrieved 9 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Spark of hope for Christchurch electricity museum". Daily Echo. March 13, 2013. Retrieved 9 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>