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

Currently closed to the public until early June 2021

Opening for the New Season dependent upon the lifting of Lockdown, roll-out of vaccinations, and availability of Volunteer Stewards

New Volunteers Welcome!

Visitors must please wear a face covering (unless exempt)

Free Entry

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,  Joint Activities Programme 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

Spring Awakening

Childhood Theme to Reminiscence Afternoon Tuesday 26 April 2.30 – 3.30p.m.

The focus for the next Reminiscence Afternoon at Shaftesbury…

Tea and Talks at Gold Hill Museum

The Shaftesbury & District Historical Society concluded their…

Tibetan Monks to Create Sand Mandala at Gold Hill Museum

Visitors to Gold Hill Museum from Monday 27 June are promised…

Hands-on Activities for Younger Visitors

Cup and ball, yo-yo, kaleidoscope, slate and chalk: all these…

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