Welcome to Gold Hill Museum

Shaftesbury and District’s local history museum with an award-winning cottage garden and wonderful views over Thomas Hardy’s Blackmore Vale.

Opening Hours 2022

Open Every Day From Friday 01 April

10.30a.m. to 4.30p.m. with Last Entry at 4.10p.m.

NEW:  “Fonthill Fever” – the 1822-23 Sales of William Beckford’s Fonthill Abbey

400 Years of Dorset Buttons

“Jude the Obscure” Locations in Hardy’s Shaston

Free Admission

Donations and New Volunteers Welcome

At the top of picturesque Gold Hill, well known for the Hovis “Boy on a Bike” advert, this modern museum is set in two historic buildings. One was once the priest’s house and still has a “squint” through the wall to St Peter’s church; the other provided basic lodgings for traders at the market on Gold Hill.

Eight galleries tell the story of rural and town life, starting even before Shaftesbury’s notional foundation by Alfred the Great. Highlights of the collection include the unique Byzant, carried during annual celebrations of the securing of the water supply, so vital to a hilltop town; Dorset’s oldest fire engine, dating from 1744; fine lacework and costumes; handmade Dorset buttons; and a mummified Dorset cat.

Gold Hill Museum is owned and managed by volunteers of The Shaftesbury & District Historical Society, a registered charity. You can read about the range of activities of The S&DHS in the Diary of Events, Library, and Lectures & Speakers pages, in the “About Us” and “Events” menus, and in our recent News Blogs and Newsletters.

The S&DHS

Thanks to the foresight of its founders, The Shaftesbury & District Historical Society owns Gold Hill Museum. The Society is an entirely voluntary organisation and in normal years receives no public funding towards the running costs of the Museum. Please contact us if you can help by becoming a member, a volunteer or a donor. Thank you.

News Blog Latest

Thirty / fifty years of hurt? A century for women footballers

The Lionesses' superb victory in the 2022 Women's Euro Final…

Blue Plaque Trail for Shaftesbury

Most Shaftesbury residents know of the existence of the town's…

The Finest in Motion Picture Entertainment at the Savoy April 1958

Gold Hill Museum was delighted recently to receive from Mrs…

Pre World War One Shaftesbury Through The Camera Lens

Early, mostly open-top, motor vehicles parked in Shaftesbury’s…

Beckford’s Stairway to Heaven, to “the Finest Prospect in Europe”

Visitors from The Shaftesbury & District Historical Society…

Heritage Lottery Fund
ACE accredited logo (3)
Orion IT Ltd - Web Design Shaftesbury