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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Beaminster St Mary’s – Welcome!

detective iconAre you a pupil at St Mary’s Academy in Beaminster? If you are, you may be doing the Research project this holiday. Please do come and see us. (Please bring an adult with you.) We are expecting you and will be happy to help if we can. We have lots of things on display and our stewards (the people on the desk) can help you find things more quickly. We also have lots of information on the computer and can help you search for photos, letters or other types of record. Just come and tell us what it is you are researching.  We look forward to seeing you.

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New Season Begins

Two eWooduknow_notimesxciting new temporary exhitions open Saturday 01 April at 10:30. First, we are celebrating 40 years of friendship with St. James in Normandy. Second, we are celebrating all things ‘wood’.


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40 Years of Twinning with Saint James

The commune of St James sits in Basse Normandie, not far from Le Mont St Michel and bypassed to the West by the A84 to Rennes. A small but active town, it has much in common with Beaminster which undoubtedly contributes to the success of four decades of municipal twinning sharing history, culture and socio-economic experience. Our exhibition, opening on 01 April, showcases the history of this enduring friendship.

The current activities of Saint James, prononounced sɛ̃ʒɑm in French, can be followed through the town’s website.



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Stunning work

No, we have not imported a whole wood. Our very own, highly talented Roberta Bee has been at work again.


The new season, opening on 01 April, promises to be a good one.

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Books this weekend!


Declutterers and buyers BookDay is almost here! 25 February is our designated Book Sale day from 10:00 until 1:00. This should conveniently be ahead of the forecast rain!

If you would like to donate books to the sale and have not done so already, then please get them to the museum today although, in emergency, we shall accept them tomorrow.

If you want to buy, then note there is a very wide range with gems to suit all (well, most) tastes. General fiction, specialist non-fiction, biographies…. We look forward to seeing you.

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Beaminster Gallery Quire

It was a joy once again to welcome the Beaminster Gallery Quire as they gave their Christmas ‘concert with readings’ last night.  The various voice-parts in the music were enhanced by  placement around the museum’s gallery and the sound in the auditorium (otherwise known as the main exhibition hall) was a delight. We learned about the custom of ‘Ashen Faggots’, laughed at a fiddler with neither bow nor knowledge of which way is up and then partook of thoroughly toothsome mincepies and mulled wine courtesy of our inhouse event team. Especial mention must go to Curator Brian Earl who stepped up to the demand for an organist and ably assisted the choir in We Singers Make Bold complete with the 1820s complications of ‘sounding the tune’ in C, or was it F, or even G?  We hope very much to see the Quire back again next year.

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Dorset Begins


Those looking forward to Brian Earl’s talk on the Netherbury Witch (Tuesday 13 December, 1430) or to the traditional Beaminster Gallery Quire Concert in the Museum on Saturday 17 December are fortunate also to be able to see Kate Ackerley’s collection Dorset Begins. As a new Beaminster resident, Kate has taken inspiration from the landscapes around her to work in a variety of media capturing the changing light and varying moods instigated by the hills, valleys and skies of the area. The exhibition is open 10-4 from now until 21 December.

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December specials

The Museum is technically in its closed period but we have too much to show to worry about that. Events this month include:

  • Christmas Coffee Morning: Saturday 3 December, 10.00am-noon
  • Winter Talk #3 – The Netherbury Witch (Brian Earl): Tuesday 13 December, 2.30pm
  • Art exhibition 12-21 December, 10am to 4pm daily
  • Beaminster Gallery Quire Christmas Concert: Saturday 17 December, 7.30pm

The shop will be open whenever the doors are open so if you have still not got your copy of the very popular work, The Pulse, by Brian and Bridie, then that will be your chance. Why not come on Saturday 3rd and have a coffee at the same time?

We look forward as ever to the Gallery Quire concert. Tickets for this annual event are best purchased in advance.

Finally, we are hosting an exhibition of paintings by Kate Ackerley, Dorset Begins. Entrance is free and all are welcome, 12-21 December.


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