We’re now open for the 2022 season and look forward to welcoming you!

Opening days and times:

Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Bank Holidays:  

10.30am – 16.00pm Sundays : 14.00pm – 16.30pm

Admission is free, but as a volunteer run charity, we welcome donations to help meet our running costs, for insurance and utilities of £7000 a year.

Beaminster Museum is delighted to welcome the Beaminster Festival Exhibition of local artists work. During the Festival from June 26 th. to July 3rd., we are open every afternoon 14:00 to 16:30.

The Nature of Music …

An assemblage of Beaminster artistic talent woven into and around the nature of music, but also around the idea that there is music within nature itself… It is the need to make known the fact that our little town is brimming with unique flairs of genius and that when we come together, we make a music all of our own. This exhibition is alive with colour and rhythm and beauty, but don’t take our word for it, come and steep yourselves in it and walk out inspired.

Saturday 25th June to Sunday 3rd July daily 2.00 – 4.30 pm then normal museum opening hours and days until 21st July.  

Horn Park Quarry National Nature Reserve Open Day Sunday 31st July 2022 10:00am to 15:45pm

Horn Park Quarry is the UK’s smallest National Nature Reserve (NNR) and is recognised for its exceptional in-situ fossils, dating from the Jurassic of 170 million years ago, when this area was a warm tropical sea. Located on Horn Park Business Park between Beaminster and Broadwindsor, you can walk on what was the sea-floor without getting your feet wet.  The Quarry has a direct link to the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site in that the fossils exposed are also found at the top of the cliffs near Burton  Bradstock.  Except you can’t have access there!

Rarely open to the public, the Open Day is a chance to explore the site, speak to on-hand experts and get involved with some of the activities happening on the day, pitched at a range of ages and levels of knowledge.  Children’s activities, magnifying glasses, displays of fossils; portaloo available, but no refreshments as the site is so weather dependent.

Tickets are free and must be pre-booked on a 45-minute timeslot basis to help us manage the flow of people throughout the day. There is a 30-minute gap between booking slots to allow cars to enter and leave the limited on-site parking bays available. Please click this link … horn-park-quarry-open-day-2022-tickets-365644762327 to book a timed slot.

Once you’ve booked your timeslot on the Eventbrite website, you’ll receive a confirmation email with more details about how best to enjoy the day, including parking information and what to bring with you.

Safety  information to be read before entering the site 

·All children must be supervised at all times. 

·The site has uneven and unstable ground in places and there are loose rocks and piles of rocks scattered. Take care especially not to trip on rocks or on uneven ground.  

·The edge of the quarry near the security fence has a sheer drop in places and rock layers near the fossil box have unstable edges. Be aware of this, stay well away from the edge of the quarry and take extra care when walking around the fossil box and uneven or ‘stepped’ rock layers.  

·There is a steep quarry face and grass bank at the back of the quarry – no-one is allowed to access this. 

·People should keep away from the security fence; it can have sharp edges and could trap little fingers.

·No hammers please.

·Please wear sturdy shoes; flip-flops or high heels are not suitable.  The site can be slippery when the surface is wet; please bear this in mind at all times.

·Thank you and we look forward to welcoming you along on Sunday 31 July.

The reserve is managed by Natural England, in association with the Jurassic Coast Trust.  A  permanent exhibition of specimens from the site is at Beaminster Museum.

Photo Exhibition – Beaminster in Covid Times

In conjunction with the Secondary School, The Town Council and many others, we have an exhibition running all summer showing photographs and poems of the community response to Covid.

We have revamped a number of our existing exhibits, on local agriculture, refreshed how conflict has shaped our area over the years, evolved our stories on paleontology and early man, and added a section on famous individuals with links to Beaminster. New for this year we also have audio guides to our local Parishes exhibition.


Being entirely volunteer run, we are always interested to chat with prospective volunteers. A wide range of opportunities are available to fit in with your interests and time availability. Our curator would be very happy to have an initial  chat with you about volunteer opportunities.  He can be contacted at info@beaminstermuseum.co.uk     We’d love to hear from you.

Most of our volunteering jobs don’t involve hard labour ! (Maintenance work at the Horn Park Quarry NNR shown.)

Extending Beaminster Museum into the community 

Thanks to a National Lottery grant of £99,000 enabling us to build a two-storey rear extension, we now have new, much needed space to welcome visiting groups of all ages, to expand our displays and to be an even better focus of local heritage within our community. Thanks to National Lottery players.

Come and Visit the Museum for Rural West Dorset!

Visit us in our expanded premises! Covering Beaminster and the parishes of Broadwindsor, Burstock, Chedington, Corscombe, Halstock, Hooke, Mapperton, Mosterton, Netherbury, Seaborough, South Perrott, Stoke Abbott and Thorncombe.

Beaminster Museum reflects and interprets the rich social history of this rural West Dorset market town and the surrounding villages.

‘Delightful. One of the best small museums I have seen.’

We have been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

The town and its surroundings

From the Middle Ages Beaminster has been a market town in an agricultural environment. Sheep farming once predominated, but dairy farming is now more important. A thriving flax industry provided work for all ages in the 18th and 19th centuries. Much of the flax was spun and woven into sailcloth, and this area was the main supplier for the British Navy.

Communication has always been a challenge. The surrounding countryside is hilly, so the canals and railways never came. One remarkable feat of pre-Victorian civil engineering was Horn Hill Tunnel, still busy today. But a combination of transport difficulties, competition from cotton sails and steamships, and a series of agricultural depressions led to a decline in the importance of the local area.

Some examples of our displays :

Ancient times

Our impressive fossil collection is backed by geological and palaeontological information describing the significance of Horn Park Quarry, which can be visited by prior arrangement through the Museum, or on one of the official Open Days, which should restart in 2022.

Volunteers spring cleaning the Quarry in September 2021.

( Shown on the left is a prepared specimen of Brasilia Gigantea from the Middle Jurassic Aalenian Aa11 Zone at Horn Park Quarry.)

We also have a range of Stone-Age hand axes, including pre-Neanderthal specimens over 250,000 years old which were found locally. There are also displays of local Bronze Age and Iron Age finds, alongside exhibits from a nearby Roman villa in Halstock and Waddon Hill Roman Fort.


Agricultural implements in a barn

Our Agriculture Corner features a cobwebby, rodent-infested barn with farm implements of bygone days. There are exhibits and artefacts from the worlds of sheep, milk and arable.

Flax and sailcloth

Flax strands

Our exhibition is the result of a special study, giving a unique insight into the local industry, from the growing of the crop to the weaving of linen  to produce canvas, nets, smocks and sailcloth.


Our shop is full of things associated with  our area. It is ideal for finding gifts with a local flavour, including books written by our own volunteers. Many of these items are exclusive to the museum.

The building

The museum was formerly a Congregational chapel. Converted in 1990, it demonstrates how a ‘listed’ building can be modified to meet present-day needs. The building is a fine example of a non-conformist chapel which, in its time, played an important role in the town, supported by many individuals involved in manufacture and commerce. It was extended at the rear in 2020. The chapel’s 19th century chamber organ has been fully restored and is still played regularly.


We have an enthusiastic, skilled research team and an extensive local reference section containing files on Beaminster and all our other parishes. Many of your questions might find answers here. We are happy to help out with family history mysteries while adding our own experience and local knowledge to standard resource tools. We also welcome those helping us with our displays such as expanding the coverage of the interactive map on every house in 1841, who owned it, who lived there, and what did they do.

Privacy Policy

No personally identifiable information is gathered by this website unless you send us an email direct from the site or comment on a page. For emails,  only the information needed to process the email and forward it to the Museum’s recipient is collected. We never share your details with any third party unless you give us express permission in writing.