Museum Schools Services


Unfortunately due to the Covid pandemic, we have been unable to welcome school groups to the museum or hold outreach sessions in 2021. 

Currently Shaftesbury Abbey Museum, in partnership with Gold Hill Museum, is reviewing its education arrangements, and will be publishing a new programme for 2022 onwards. 


Meanwhile if you would like any support or resources for school topics you are planning in 2021, please contact Claire Ryley, the education coordinator, to discuss how we can help. We very much look forward to working with you more from next year onwards.

The Abbey Museum works in partnership with nearby Gold Hill Museum to offer a comprehensive learning programme, delivered by a qualified and experienced team.

Both museums house unique collections and between them tell the story of the town and local area from prehistoric times to the present day.


Displays feature:

  • Archaeology

  • Saxons and King Alfred

  • Medieval monastic life

  • Tudor times and the Dissolution

  • Rural and Victorian times

  • Local history

  • 20th century life including World War ll

Gold Hill Museum has been totally renovated, with new displays and a purpose-built education room, which can be used in conjunction with visits to either museum.

We offer tours and/or workshops designed to develop your pupils’ historical investigation and interpretation skills, enhancing their learning in a fun and meaningful way. These can be tailored to your pupils’ needs, with opportunities for cross-curricular and themed work, beyond the history curriculum.


We can cater for museum visits of up to 35 children, divided into groups. You can choose from artefact handling, role-play, storytelling, and themed hands-on activities for the workshop sessions. We can arrange sessions in schools, or at either or both of the museums, throughout the school year. The Abbey and Gold Hill Museums are within easy and safe walking distance from each other, and children can eat their packed lunches at either museum, by arrangement.In addition we can suggest itineraries around the town to help you get the most out of your visit to Shaftesbury.


We also have themed loan boxes for the Roman, Saxon, Tudor and Victorian periods, and extensive local history and archaeology resources for schools.We are pleased to support school and college students researching local history, and have an extensive library and archive, which can be used by prior appointment.

The Learning Team is led by Claire Ryley, an experienced teacher, archaeologist and museum educator. For more information, please contact us.


Medieval medicines & crafts workshop