A contemporary new gallery building, designed by Carmody Groarke Architects, will be constructed at the centre of the Museum site. This new building, offering three distinct levels of galleries and basement archive, will connect with the existing Victorian building via a double height circulation space.
The galleries will take the visitor on a compelling journey through 250 million years of history, from a time when the geographical area of present day Dorset was a hot arid desert, to the contrasting, beautiful working landscape and county we know today.
In order to create this rich and many layered learning experience we need a completely new series of galleries revealing the geological, environmental and human forces that have shaped the area over 250 million years.
Featuring- The principle collections of palaeontology from the UNESCO Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.
Featuring- Archaeology from the South Dorset Ridgeway, an ancient landscape as significant as Stonehenge or Avebury. Agriculture to smuggling, quarrying to brewing – Dorset’s trades and industries. Dorset’s role in the founding of the USA.
Featuring- the largest Thomas Hardy collection in the world – inscribed on the UNESCO ‘Memory of the World’ register of universally significant archive collections.
Featuring- An impressive collection of works by leading artists born or inspired by Dorset, such as; Elizabeth Frink, George Dannatt, Thomas Gainsborough, Paul Nash, Elizabeth Muntz,, John Constable and George Romney.
COLLECTIONS DISCOVERY CENTRE
This new zone will create 20 years of collecting capacity and make every one of the Museum’s 4 million objects quickly and easily accessible.
Learning at the Museum
Outreach activities delivered to communities across the whole county – in schools, clubs, community groups and colleges.
The Library will return to its original home on the first floor of the Museum’s Victorian building.
Not many museums present a total view of a place: a geology, ecology, archaeology, history, art, literature and the links between them. This exciting piece of new architecture will enable us to do it for Dorset. It will exhibit the collections to the best advantage and preserve those not on display. It will be a theatre of the imagination accessible to everyone.
Max Hebditch, DNHAS Trustee. Former Director of the Museum of London and a President of the Museums Association.