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What do we offer in the museum?

The Dorset County Museum’s programme for schools is designed around the museum’s collections and is intended to be compact, challenging and reflect the joy of discovery.


A standard session will last 2 hours and begin at 10.00, finish at 12.00.

We are able to accommodate large groups and may be able to offer other activities and alternative sessions.  These can be discussed with the Education Officer before you visit.

During a standard session all pupils will get an opportunity to take part in each of the activities.  Activities last for up to 35 minutes each.

Depending on the number of pupils we will ask that teachers divide the group into 3 if 35 pupils or more.  Fewer than 35 pupils we ask that teachers divide the group into two.  This can be done prior to your visit to save time or before the activities begin once you’re in the museum.

On occasions we may need to amend the number of groups without prior discussion with the teacher. However, should this be necessary pupils will still have the opportunity to take part in all the activities as part of their session.

A visit to the Roman Town House can be incorporated into a Roman Dorset session.  The visit usually takes place after lunch and lasts 1 hour. The Roman Town House visit will finish at 14.00.
Museum staff and volunteers will lead activities during your visit.

Practical Information

1 - Arrival

The Museum opens to the public at 10.00am. The Museum closes at 5.00pm in summer and 4.00pm in winter.

School sessions start at 10.00.  On arrival our Front of House staff will greet you.  If you are bringing a group of over 25 pupils please ask the pupils and other adult leaders to wait outside while you come in and sort things out as we have a rather small, narrow entrance.

2 - Payment

The museum will invoice you after your visit. A note of your pupil numbers will be taken on the day of your visit. Teachers and accompanying adults are free. - Charges

If you wish to pay on the day of your visit please notify us prior to your booking.

3 - Coats and Bags

Pupils coats and bags can be stored in our Learning Base.  Handbags and valuables should be kept with you at all times.

If you are having lunch in our Victorian Gallery, please make sure any snacks needed in the morning are separate from lunch bags.

4 - Lunch

You are welcome to have lunch in our Victorian Gallery.  Unfortunately there are no tables and chairs for pupils. 

In good weather you are welcome to use the Museum courtyard for lunch, or you may wish to use the Museum wildlife garden which is a 3 minute safe walk.

5 - Museum Shop

Prices range from 50p to £3.50 for children’s gifts.

Please inform us at the start of your visit if you wish pupils to purchase from the museum shop as space is limited.

6 - Facilities

There are a limited number of toilets on the ground floor of the museum.  Please ensure an adult accompanies pupils.  There is a wheelchair accessible toilet.

7- Disabled Access

The ground floor of the museum is accessible (except the Village Dorset Gallery).  There is a lift to the first floor where the Jurassic Coast Gallery is located.

8 - Health and Safety

At the start of a led session there will be a short safety introduction to the museum for all pupils and accompanying adults, including the fire alarm, safety in the galleries and other users in the museum.

We will make every effort to make sure you and your group have an enjoyable time. However we also have a responsibility to other museum visitors to ensure groups do not interfere with their enjoyment of the galleries.

Please ensure the following points are discussed with the pupils prior to your visit and that any accompanying adults are adequately briefed on their role.

  • Walk everywhere in the museum
  • Avoid touching any objects, furniture etc
  • Remember that other people will be using the museum
  • Pupils will need to stay with their group leaders
  • Respect the need for controlled behaviour

We recommend a free pre-visit to the museum to familiarise yourself with the layout of the museum. Contact the museum to book a date.

Schools are reminded that they must refer to their employer’s guidance on the organisation of trips out of school.  For Dorset schools this can be accessed at www.dorsetforyou.com/outdoored

9- Risk Assessments

It is important to us that you enjoy your group visit to Dorset County Museum.  Activities for your group are designed with full consideration of risks. 

Risk assessments are completed for all new works and activities. 

Teachers (and accompanying adults) are responsible for the general health and safety of visiting school children as at school. 

Teachers and accompanying adults should remain with groups at all times.

If your school is not using museum staff please ensure you are aware of the following

As group leader it is your responsibility to make sure accompanying adults know what to do in event of fire and other safety issues and are adequately briefed on their expected role.

Agree a meeting point for your groups when in the museum. (see point 8)

10- Fire Safety

If an alarm sounds, all visitors and staff must exit by the nearest available fire door and follow the route indicated.  Museum staff will provide assistance to anyone within the public spaces.  The fire evacuation point is at the front of the museum on High West Street.

11 - Lost pupils

Staff at the reception desk should be notified immediately in the event of lost children.  They will alert other museum staff to the occurrence and instigate a search.  Adults will be asked about a lost child’s identity before being reunited with them. 

12 - Handling objects

Any materials handled as part of a group’s booked activities have been assessed for the hazards they present. Supervision is maintained at all times by the museum staff, who brief groups before handling on safety procedures, and ensure that handling is carried out with a view to the exploration of the object within its context of use and not as a plaything.

13 - Exploring our galleries

All the Museum’s galleries are maintained as safe spaces for the visiting public.  Trip hazards are identified. Electrical equipment is regularly checked and visitors are protected from electric shock.  Fire doors are safely and responsibly maintained.

For more information contact Emma Talbot, Education Officer on 01305 756832 or education@dorsetcountymuseum.org