Travellers’ Tales: Sand, Rock and Snow with Caroline Richards

Caroline RichardsOn Thursday 26th January at 7.30pm, come join us for a fascinating talk by Caroline Richards who has run on four different continents far off the tourist trail.

Caroline will take you on a visit to four wilderness areas on four different continents, far off the tourist trail.  These remote environments provided a backdrop for multi-day, self-sufficiency running events in which she participated.  The talk is seen through the eyes of an ultra-runner, but provides varied insights and anecdotes into the diverse cultures involved.

At the age of 40, she decided to increase her level of fitness so that she would be able to climb Mont Blanc.  This positive outcome has subsequently encouraged her, over the last fifteen years, to test her limits.  Caroline has participated in multi-day, self-sufficiency events across the world’s deserts and mountain ranges.

Thursday 26th January at 7.00pm (The Museum doors open at 7.00pm). The talk is FREE although a donation of £3 is encouraged to cover costs.

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

Thomas Hardy Lecture: Hardy, Women and Marriage By Professor Ann Heilmann

Emma Hardy

Emma Hardy from the Dorset County Museum’s Hardy Collection © DCM

On Thursday 30th July, Professor Ann Heilmann of Cardiff University is giving a literary talk at Dorset County Museum entitled ‘Hardy, Women and Marriage’.

When, with the death of his first wife Emma, Hardy embarked on his Poems of 1912-13, the estranged husband reconstituted himself in author and journalist Claire Tomalin’s words as ‘a lover in mourning’. It is perhaps a fitting irony that the man who reconfigured his marriage after the event had spent his novelistic career waging war on conventional Victorian ideas of marriage.

Hardy’s attack on marriage as a social and legal institution pervades his entire fiction, from his first novel Desperate Remedies (1871) and its sensation-style foray into bigamy, to his final masterpiece, Jude the Obscure (1895): a book which prompted the Mrs Grundy of Victorian literature, Margaret Oliphant, to denounce Hardy as the leading figure in the contemporary ‘Anti-Marriage League’.

This talk discusses marriage in Hardy’s life and fiction, highlighting his radical critique of Victorian legal conditions and his early espousal of women’s rights.

All are welcome to the talk which starts at 7.30pm. Doors open at 7.00pm. The talk is free of charge but a donation of £3.00 is encouraged to cover costs.

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

Thomas Hardy Lecture: Life is a Game of Chess by Rebecca Welshman

Thomas Hardy in his Study Dorset County Museum © 2013

Thomas Hardy in his Study Dorset County Museum © 2013

The last in the current series of Thomas Hardy talks at Dorset County Museum will investigate Hardy’s use of the origins and strategies of classic games in his fiction writing.

Rebecca Welshman of the University of Exeter has studied how Thomas Hardy’s familiarity with the ancient origins and principles of games informed some of the key scenes in his novels. In The Mayor of Casterbridge, for example, Hardy describes Casterbridge as a ‘chessboard’, and Maumbury Rings – the former site of Gladiatorial games – as an ‘arena’ in which the games of human relationships are played out.

The talk also explores how Hardy strategically employs games such as chess, cards and dice to direct the fates of his characters and how chance and strategy are principles of his fiction writing.

Rebecca’s talk entitled, Life is a Game of Chess: Hardy, Games and Prehistoric Landscapes, will take place on Thursday 30th October in the Museum’s Victorian Hall. The event is FREE but donations are encouraged to cover costs. The talk starts at 7.30pm and the doors are open from 7.00pm. All are welcome to attend.

For more information please Tel: 01305 262735 or visit our website at

Events: Undiscovered Caucasus: Art, Archaeology and Architecture in Georgia by Roger Peers

Views from the Caucasus Mountains - Roger Peers©2012

Views from the Caucasus Mountains

Imagine an undiscovered pocket of medieval Europe.  Not some over-sanitised over-run enclave tucked away in the Alps, but situated in far-off mountains somewhere to the east of Turkey!

A place where one can come across a stupendous Romanesque cathedral in the middle of nowhere; no running the gauntlet of car parks and tour coaches, gift shops and cafes, nothing more than sheep grazing in fields that run up to the walls.  A magnificently rich heritage of churches, monasteries and frescoes, of spectacular ruined castles perched on mountain crags and walled towns all set against the majestic backdrop of the Caucasus Mountains.

Caucasus Mountains - Roger Peers©2012

Caucasus Mountains

Georgia is all this and more.  Still largely undiscovered, few realise the astonishing wealth and diversity beyond the capital Tbilisi.  A marvellous cluster of many cultures, ancient history, extraordinary medieval dwelling towers, mountain top churches, unique cuisine and breathtaking high mountain villages only approachable by 4x4s.

Most of all, Georgia is its people, an ancient people with a sense of tradition, of honour, of value.  A people whose appreciation of beauty, poetry and song is legendary and whose warmth and spirit reach out to the visitor.  Together with its rich architecture and magnificent landscapes, Georgia is utterly beguiling.

Roger Peers’ illustrated lecture on the undiscovered Caucasus will take place at Dorset County Museum on Wednesday 20 March at 7.30pm.  The talk is free although a donation of £3 is encouraged, and all are welcome. Advance booking is not required.