19th Century Barrel Organ

19th Century Barrel OrganOur newly restored 19th Century Barrel Organ is now back at the museum. Come to hear the barrel organ play any number of traditional melodies on one or more of its three barrels.

Gordon Bartlet, who kindly financed the restoration of the organ will demonstrate it for you. He will be in the museum every Tuesday in March (1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th) and April (5th, 12th, 19th and 26th) 3.00 — 4.00pm.

A Selection of Melodies:

  • Handels Water Music
  • The Dorsetshire March
  • The Bollita
  • Lady Digby’s Minuet
  • Evening Hymn
  • Lording Mornington
Gordon Bartlet with the Barrel Organ

Gordon Bartlet with the Barrel Organ

Gordon says “Vintage machinery and many varieties of music have always been a passion of mine, so mechanical music ticks both boxes and has lead to a collection of antique musical boxes and similar items. With this background it was sad to see a 19th century barrel organ lying silent in the Dorset County Museum, so I resolved to investigate its history and to see if it could be made to work again.

Apart from once being in Puddletown church and then Bere Regis church much of the organ’s background was unknown. Delving into more detail uncovered a fascinating history from when it was built by John Gray of London in 1839 to when it was bought and subsequently donated to the museum in 1935 by Miss Agnes Debenham of the Debenham Stores family.

On the technical side the organ was very complete and original, but with damage to the operating mechanism and to many of the pipes. Making it play again required the combined efforts of myself and Mr John Budgen, a retired professional organ builder.”

Demonstrations at the museum every Tuesday in March (1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th) and April (5th, 12th, 19th and 26th) from 3.00pm – 4.00pm. Normal admissions apply.

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

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Literary Lives: Thomas Hardy and Education by Dr. Jonathan Godshaw Memel

Thomas Hardy's  First School, Lower Bockhampton, Dorset

Thomas Hardy’s First School, Lower Bockhampton, Dorset

In his autobiography, Thomas Hardy remembers himself as an ‘apt pupil who galloped unconcernedly over the ordinary school lessons’ and a ‘born bookworm’ who learnt to read ‘almost before he could walk’. Education provided Hardy with the means to enter a profession and allowed his unmarried sisters, Mary and Kate, to live independent lives as schoolmistresses.

In this talk Dr. Jonathan Godshaw Memel will explore the ways in which Thomas Hardy’s fiction draws on these experiences, examining his treatment of residential training colleges, an ancient university and newly-built elementary schools. Hardy’s criticisms of the Victorian education system are also considered.

This talk is part of a series of four evening lectures organised by the Hardy Country project. A collaboration between the Dorset County Museum, the National Trust, Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Thomas Hardy Society, Bath Spa University and the University of Exeter, to promote knowledge and understanding of Thomas Hardy and his works.

The forthcoming lecture will take place in the Dorset County Museum’s Victorian Hall and is FREE to the public; however a donation of £3 encouraged to cover costs. Doors open at 7.00pm and talks start at 7.30pm.

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Next talks:

  • Thursday 26th May, Emma Lavinia: The First Mrs Hardy with Helen Gibson and Marilyn Leah.
  • Thursday 30th June, Thomas Hardy and Folksong by Dr. Peter Robson
  • Thursday 3rd November, The influnence of Hardy on the Cornish Poet, Jack Clemo

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Lunchtime Concert performance by Thomas Hardye Students

Thomas Hardye School at Dorset County MuseumThis lunchtime concert taking place on Wednesday 24th February provides the chance to listen to music makers of the future.

A-Level students from The Thomas Hardye School will be giving a FREE concert at Dorset County Museum as part of their studies – it is an opportunity for them to perform to a live audience, and for visitors to hear music from potential star performers of tomorrow.

The concert is FREE although the Museum encourages donations. It takes place on Wednesday 24th February at 1.00 pm and will last for approximately one hour.

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

All the fun of a Victorian Fayre at the Dorset County Museum

The Victorian Fayre last year at the Dorset County Museum

The Victorian Fayre last year at the Dorset County Museum

On Sunday 21st February, from 2.00pm to 5.00pm, the Dorset County Museum opens its doors for the second year running to a traditional Victorian Fayre to celebrate the birthday of William Barnes, Dorset dialect poet. This FREE event will offer something for all the family.

Stalls will include traditional crafts and gifts and the chance to learn rural skills. There will be Maypole dancing for the children as well as popular parlour games.

The friends of the William Barnes Society and Tim Laycock, well-known folk musician, actor and storyteller will provide traditional singing, music, dance and poetry reading throughout the afternoon.

Frome Valley Morris Mummer

Frome Valley Morris Mummer

The Frome Valley Morris Men will perform the Mummers and Hoodening play. The event would not be complete without a raffle, quiz and a Victorian afternoon tea.

Marion Tait, Honorary Curator of the William Barnes Gallery and Archive said that last year the Victorian Fayre was a huge success and was hoping for a repeat performance.

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Spotlight Exhibition Evening: The Queen’s Own Dorset Yeomanry commemoration of the charge at Agagia by Capt. Allan Wood (Rtd) and Capt. Colin Parr (Rtd) MBE

On Thursday 18 February,  7.00pm for 7.30pm an evening talk will be held at the Dorset County Museum to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the famous charge of the Queen’s Own Dorset Yeomanry against a mixed Turkish and Senussi force in the Egyptian Western Desert.

Retired Capt. Allan Wood and Capt. Colin Parr MBE will discuss how the Queen’s Own Dorset Yeomanry charge, routed the enemy and was a key element in preventing the Turks and their German allies from capturing the Suez canal; a vital link with India.

The Dorset Yeoman at Agagia, 26th February 1916, Lady Elizabeth Butler, 1917

The Dorset Yeoman at Agagia, 26th February 1916, Lady Elizabeth Butler, 1917 [Dorset County Council]

This special evening’s talk is in conjunction with the Museum’s current spotlight exhibition and the loaned painting from the Dorset County Council recording the gallantry of the Queen’s Own Dorset Yeomanry that was painted by the greatest British late 19th/ early 20th century military artist, Lady Butler.

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

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Half Term Fun with Craft Academy

Craft Academy at Dorset County MuseumLooking for something to do with the kids? Come and join us for a morning of messy fun at Dorset County Museum’s brand new Craft Academy on Wednesday 17th February in half term from 10.30am to 12.30pm

Using the Victorian Gallery displays as inspiration, can you help us create an online collection of fabulous things?

We’ll provide the materials and the inspiration – you’ll create a wonderful piece to take home with you. Even better, it’s absolutely FREE thanks to sponsorship from Battens Solicitors.

Each time you create a masterpiece, we will stamp your Craft Academy passport. If you collect three stamps we’ll give you a special certificate. If you’re able to collect all five this year we’ll give you a prize!!

Two children admitted with each accompanying adult, suggested age range 5 – 11 years.

The next Craft Academy sessions for 2016:

  • Wednesday 30th March
  • Wednedsday 6th April
  • Wednesday 1st June
  • Wednesday 3rd August

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter