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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Our Local World interview

Interviewer Katy Ashman from Abbey 104 FM was warmly welcomed by Curator Brian Earl when she came to discuss Life Below Stairs, one of our two special 2016 exhibitions. As can be heard on the Abbey104 podcast Katy really enjoyed our ‘lovely little gem of a museum’. In the Local World programme, Brian selects a great story from the exhibition about a driver at Hooke Court. Of course, there are many more stories for visitors to discover!  Thank you, Katy, and Abbey104, we look forward to seeing you again.


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Census and truth

DSCF1341 (2) Part of the fun of social history lies in noting the similarities between people ‘then’ and ‘us now’. The Census exhibition shows that the temptation to be economical with the truth for official records is far from a modern phenomenon…

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