Poole Museum
Free Entry
Opening times:
From 9 April - 30 October 2022,
Daily, 10am - 5pm

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Our Museum Project

Major conservation and restoration work begins

Work has started on our exciting redevelopment project 'Our Museum: Rediscovering Poole's Maritime Heritage". 

Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project aims to transform Poole Museum into an outstanding cultural centre and a modern, thriving cultural space and community hub, greatly enriching the experience of Poole Quay and Old Town. 

What's happening now?

We're investing in our heritage at Poole Museum. We are

  • reducing our carbon footprint by 25% saving enough energy each year to make 1.2 million cups of tea or watch 50 years of television!
  • sympathetically installing 360 solar roof slates for sustainable power
  • 145 million year old Purbeck limestone roof tiles will complete the new roof of the Wool Hall improving energy efficiency with 60 new windows, secondary glazing and new insulation.

 Read more here

What's happening soon?

The Museum will close on 30th October 2022 and will reopen in Spring / Summer 2024. 

Whilst we close we will bring Poole’s unique stories and heritage out "on the move" through a vibrant programme of outreach and the chance to get “behind the scenes”. 

Thanks to National Lottery players we will bring

  • three brand new maritime galleries showcasing more of our collections
  • increased interactive and engaging displays
  • conserved and restored Wool Hall, a significant Grade I listed medieval port building  
  • national touring exhibitions to Poole 
  • better access for all our visitors to enjoy the displays
  • vibrant events for visitors, residents and local communities

Medieval wreck finds to go on display in new Shipwreck gallery

Diver discovers artefacts from the seabed.jpg
Photo credit: Bournemouth University

Finds from the rare remains of a medieval ship and its cargo will go on display in Poole Museum when it reopens in 2024. Maritime archaeologists from Bournemouth University have uncovered the ship, dating back to the 13th century in Poole Bay on the edge of the Swash Channel. It was first found by a local charter boat skipper, Trevor Small.

A new display will showcase finds from the 15-metre medieval vessel in Shipwreck! one of Poole Museum’s three new maritime galleries. The display will reveal the ongoing story of the excavation and the people who make it possible.

Though constructed from Irish timbers, the Mortar Wreck is thought to be local to Poole. Exciting finds have included copper cooking vessels and stone mortars, as well as a cargo of ready-produced carved gravestones.

Cllr Beverley Dunlop, Portfolio Holder for Tourism, Culture and Vibrant Places at BCP Council said:

“It is incredibly exciting that shipwrecks like this are still being discovered along our coastline. They are such an integral part of Poole’s rich maritime heritage. Residents and visitors will be able to get up close to the unfolding story of the excavation and what that can tell us about times past through both the everyday items on board and a cargo of gravestones!!”

Tom Cousins, Researcher in Maritime Archaeology at Bournemouth University said:

“The medieval wreck provides us with unparalleled potential for telling us about the past lives and shipping in the 13th C at an important time in Poole's history with the charter of Poole in 1248 and the height of the marble trade in the west. The discovery of the wreck came at an opportune time to coincide with the developments at Poole Museum allowing us to directly engage with the public as the story of the wreck unfolds over time.”

The new galleries are currently under development as part of the £4.3m Our Museum Project funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and will open to Poole residents and visitors in 2024.

Poole Museum will close at the end of October 2022 with building work taking place during 2023 and reopening planned for 2024. During closure the museum will take to the road, bringing Poole’s unique stories and heritage to the local community through an exciting programme of outreach and events.


Sectional image showing the newly transformed museum. Credit ZMMA

The newly transformed museum will reopen in Spring / Summer 2024 and will include three brand new maritime galleries co-created with our local community. There will be opportunities for hands-on learning and new workshops developed with local teachers. 

A big thank you to all of our funders, partners and supporters.  

To keep in touch and hear about ways to get involved sign up to our mailing list or contact us at ourmuseumproject@bcpcouncil.gov.uk 


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