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.

Next Open in February 2020

Currently closed for the winter

Open Sat 15 February to Sun 23 February inclusive

10.30 to 4.30

Admission free

(donations very 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.


Thanks to the foresight of its founders, The Shaftesbury & District Historical Society owns Gold Hill Museum. The Society is an entirely voluntary organisation and 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

Shillingstone Station

The Station They Never Closed - Lecture 2.30pm Tuesday 05 March

Shillingstone Station opened in 1863 lit by oil lamps and closed…
Gold Hill Museum Chairperson Elaine Barratt in the Garden Room

Fish, Chips And Quiz Will Fund Museum Enhancement

Gold Hill Museum’s meeting and venue space is underused and…
Shire Hall Dorchester

Shire Hall: Justice in the Balance - Lecture Tuesday 05 February 2.30p.m.

Shire Hall in Dorchester was Dorset’s courthouse from 1797…
Marie_Stopes (2)

The Remarkable Dr Marie Stopes - Lecture 2.30pm Tuesday 08 January 2019

David Carter, Trustee of Portland Museum, brings an illustrated…
Sales of Shaftesbury

A Hundred Years Since The Sale of Shaftesbury - The Town They Sold Three Times

At the end of the First World War, most of Shaftesbury was sold…

Heritage Lottery Fund
ACE accredited logo (3)
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