Horn Park Quarry National Nature Reserve Open Day

Bank Holiday Monday 28th May 2018 11.00 to 4.00


You may have been to see Dippy in Dorchester, now come and see the fossils on our own doorstep.  It’s like diving to the Jurassic seabed but without getting wet! The quarry is not normally open to the public, but is of international importance for the fossils it holds.  You will be able to see the wonderful specimens in situ, look at the examples from Beaminster Museum loan boxes, follow the fault lines and chat with the experts from Beaminster Museum, Jurassic Coast Trust and Natural England.  Activities for all ages.

What is the link between ammonites and submarines?   Answer: Jet propulsion. Both use compartments to control their buoyancy to move up or down in the sea. In an emergency, an ammonite could make a rapid exit, some even released a cloud of ink to confuse a predator. The animal only lived in the last segment of the shell.  Do come along and see some!

Where?  Horn Park Quarry, Horn Park Business Park, DT8 3PT on B3163 between Beaminster and Broadwindsor. Parking: on site.  Footwear: strong shoes with grip essential.  Suitable for all ages, but beware steps, slopes and rough surfaces. Free entry, donations towards upkeep welcome.  No toilet (or refreshments). Inclement weather? Phone 01308 863623 for recorded message update or follow Beaminster Museum website, Facebook or Twitter.

Bid Wheeler

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New season exhibitions

From Paleolithic axes to modern versions of nursery rhymes, from a murdered tranter to today’s WI, DSCN1024 (2)we have even more to discover this year. Hatch, Match and Despatch gives a sometimes highly entertaining, sometimes sobering view of local customs surrounding birth, marriage and death. 100 Years of the WI marks the centenary of the Women’s Institute in the town including its links with DSCN1037 (2)women in other countries.

True to our tradition, this season also brings a new discovery trail and a fossil rubbing box for younger visitors.

Many aspects of our heritage continue to be shown in our permanent (but updated) displays including the local flax and hemp industry, schoDSCN1017ols, pubs, Horn Park Quarry and more.

Older visitors are invited to add to our ever-growing records with their own memories of the history of the town and its surroundings  using the Memory Book in the upper gallery.

Opening times, accessibility and research information can be found on the relevant pages.

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Books, books and more marvellous books

The annual book sale is upon us! Saturday 24 February opening at 10 am.  Not just our own marvellous publications but hundreds, maybe thousands, of books donated from far and wide.  There is always a wide variety of specialist  ‘I’ve been looking for that!’ and more recent popular titles. Do come along. The museum itself is not open as we are preparing for our new season but there will be plenty of people on hand to answer questions.

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Agriculture resources available and wanted

As part of an on-going project we are collating data for agriculture from the villages.  An indication of the weath of material available has been listed by Duncan and that list can be seen here. As research continues, we would welcome any old photographs, details of farm sales or use of farm land from Beaminster or any of our villages so please get in touch or come in and see us if you have any information.

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Watermills and Manufactories Research

The large number of watermills and manufactories used in Beaminster and the surrounding villages is one of our key areas of record-keeping and research. Duncan Harris has just put together a very useful list of sources available within the museum. This will be updated as more items are found.

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Tercentenary of Freemasonry

For 145 years, there has been a masonic lodge here in Beaminster and many local families have been and still are  actively involved in its charitable works. DSCN0773

The United Grand Lodge of England is celebrating its tercentenary this year so the museum, as part of that celebration, is hosting a summer exhibition in the ‘niche’ highlighting some of the characters, skills and activities of Beaminster Masons over the years.

Their early connections with excellence in craftsmanship can be seeen in some of the exhibits. It is also clear to see that Masons of old, if not today, could certainly dine well and heartily! Can anyone, today, eat that much?


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Walking sticks and bangles

dscn0776.jpgThere are still some lovely , locally crafted walking sticks available for sale in the museum shop so if you forgot yours when on holiday, you know where to come. Souvenir and practicality in one visit.

There are also some very original, light-weight, finely finished wooden bangles for only £2 each!!! (A steal!) DSCN0778

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Beaminster School Festival Photography

The Museum is delighted to once again host a photographic exhibition from Beaminster School students. This is now an important part of the Beaminster Festival and a valuable experience for the students themselves, showing their work to a wider audience.

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Museum participation Beaminster-style

So, apparently, museums are failing to close the participation gap. Hmm: not so sure that is true in Beaminster. We have children of all ages, learned professors, ‘staying over the road’ visitors, ‘want to see great-granny/grandad’s contribution’ visitors, overseas visitors of all ages from many countries – and people who return just because they enjoy what is on offer. We have also installed a stairlift that has been seen to double as a handrail for the very young.

Thankfully, we are rarely crowded and a local welcome is here – a welcome to suit you and what you want to do, whatever your age or background. We can’t do anything about the exterior but come inside and just have a look around. Have a laugh. Ask questions. Enjoy the things to do. Create your own list of things to do – we don’t expect anyone to do anything except explore and hopefully get a bit puzzled at times. See Opening times for more information.

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Wood you know and wood we craft

Along with the current exhibition, Wood you know we are delighted to be showcasing items from some of our local craftspeople in the shop.  Peter Wheeler has a wide selection of items including an amazing array of walking sticks, jewellery boxes, large egg cups, garden dibbers, light pulls and bangles and – be quick! – there are six of Alice Blogg’s bowls still available.

We also have second-hand items ‘looking for a new home’ which have been donated by some of our volunteers.  The large wooden bowl went very quickly but more remains.

Sadly, there is insufficient space in the shop for us to have larger items from our local world-renowned cabinet-makers but there are pictures of some of their work and we can put you in touch with them.

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