Excitement is building as Dorset Museum announce when it will reopen

  Posted: 01.05.21 at 07:00 by Lottie Welch

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After a £16.1million makeover, global pandemic and six major storms Dorset Museum has revealed when it will reopen and a new name.

The wait is finally over for a building that started in October 2019 and the team is ready to reveal new permanent galleries, a special exhibitions gallery, collections centre, library, shop and café when it reopens to the public on May 28.

The museum is now established as the major cultural destination within Dorset - a place for people from the county and world to connect with 250 million years of Dorset’s history.

Dr Jon Murden, Dorset Museum executive director, said: “It is extremely satisfying to have got to this point and be on the verge of revealing our new museum to world.

“Despite the challenges we have faced, the team here has never lost faith in our vision to reimagine and re-invigorate Dorset’s museum, securing its future and the future of its globally important collections for generations to come.

“We can’t wait to now finally open our doors on May 28 and play our part in the recovery that Dorset is sure to experience this summer as we gradually emerge from lockdown.”


More of the museum’s internationally significant collections of archaeology, art, literature, geology, natural and social history will be on display than ever before. Reimagined galleries have been designed and curated to inspire, with Dorset’s stories creatively interpreted using objects, hands on interactive displays and audio-visual presentations - all contained within an ecologically sustainable new building.

Elizabeth Selby, Dorset Museum director of collections and public engagement, said: “We’re looking forward to opening our doors again so visitors can explore our transformation.

“Our newly designed galleries are full of stunning objects, films and hands-on interactives that together tell the incredible story of Dorset over 250 million years.

“We think there will be something here to inspire and interest everyone and we can’t wait to see you.”

The new museum also places accessibility at the heart of the visitor experience with full wheelchair access, toilets, baby changing facilities on every level, and Changing Places Toilet.


Taste Café, which already has a successful outlet in Dorchester and at the Chesil Beach Visitor Centre in Portland, will be running the new café, serving a daily menu of fresh food and drinks.

Andy Fleet, chairman of Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, said: “Wholly transforming the museum would have been a tremendous achievement at any time. Undertaking and completing the work through lockdown is a breath-taking achievement by all those involved.

“The Dorset Museum now tells stories of Dorset and its 250 million years old heritage for all our visitors whom I hope will find enjoyment, fun and some wonder in the stunning new exhibitions.”

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