The late Mrs. Betty Penny MBE founded the Blandford Fashion museum, located in Lime Tree House, in 1996. The house is a beautiful Georgian property in Blandford Forum, built by John and William Bastard after the town’s Great Fire in 1731.
Mrs. Penny’s collection of costumes, known locally as the Cavalcade of Costume, form the nucleus of the present collection. However, since then the collection has almost trebled in size and continues to grow thanks to generous donations from the public.
The Arts Council gave the museum accredited status in 2010, and renewed it in 2015. We receive a small grant from the Town Council, but no other public funding. As a result, all our members of staff are volunteers and we have a reputation locally for our friendly atmosphere.
We have 13 display spaces over two floors, and there is a rolling programme of exhibition changes. Exhibitions show visitors historic dress and textiles and the connection between fashion and social history. Additional facilities include a Resources Room for use by students studying fashion & textiles and a Lecture Room for study days.