The museum has 13 exhibition spaces, several of which are changed annually according to a rolling exhibition programme. Our current exhibitions are:

Ladies of Dorset

Through the lives of several remarkable individuals, this exhibition showcases the great contribution of Dorset’s women to our local, national and cultural heritage throughout the past two centuries. Celebrated in the displays are: renowned paleontologist Mary Anning (1799-1847), Lady of Kingston Lacey Henrietta Bankes (1867-1953), socialite and ambassador Pamela Churchill-Harriman, née Digby (1920-1997), sculptor and printmaker Dame Elizabeth Frink (1930-1993) and Horrockses textile designer Joyce Badrocke (1926-).

Styles that Changed Fashion

An exhibition of iconic dress shapes from the twentieth century, this exhibition looks at vintage fashions that have had a lasting influence on what we wear today. Highlights include flapper style dresses from the 1920s, mini dresses from the 1960s, and a Chanel suit, all of which have helped to shape womenswear as we know it today.

After the War

To coincide with the centennary of the First World War, this exhibition celebrates the fashions that emerged after the end of the war, with a range of clothing and accessories from the late 1910s and early 1920s.


A chronological look at dress in scenes of everyday life from the 1920s to the 1970s, with each display representing one decade of what we now call ‘retro’ fashion. The displays showcase not only the clothes but also the accessories that characterised these decades, and the lifestyles that went with them.

The Georgian Room

This room is original to the house, and has a number of period features from the 1731 restoration. It always celebrates the town’s Georgian heritage, showing some of the earliest items in our collection. Currently on display are day dresses from the late eighteenth century.

Ladies Take Tea

Set in the house’s original parlour, this room currently recreates a Tea Party from the late Victorian period, with two ladies surrounded by all the accessories needed for a formal afternoon Tea.

Accessories Room

This room is always dedicated to Accessories, and is currently showing a range of items, including some artefacts on loan from the Masonic Hall in Blandford, to coincide with the celebration of the Tercentenary of Freemasonry in Britain in 2017.

Designer Corner

As part of our long-term collaboration with contemporary fashion designer Bruce Oldfield, this display is currently showcasing a catwalk finale dress from his archive.

An Edwardian Lady’s Room

The process of dressing has historically been more complicated than it is today. So this room shows all of the accessories and accoutrements required to dress the perfect Edwardian Lady for her day.

Dorset Craft Room

Celebrating the local origins of dress and fashion, this room includes displays of Dorset buttons and bonnets, traditional ‘rural’ dress and a look at the glove-making industry.

Children’s Corner

Including a display of historically-dressed dolls from the Beck Collection, this room contains replica clothing in children’s sizes so that they can try on accessories, including crinolines, from historic periods.