The museum sector in Somerset and North Somerset is varied. The county covers a large area of rural and post industrial environments, coastal, upland, agricultural and low lying landscapes, dotted with market towns, seaside resorts, ports and centres of industry.
The museums in the county reflect this diverse heritage: from the large, rich collections of the Somerset Heritage and Libraries Service, with its world class collections of archaeology and palaeontology, to the specialist Dunster Dolls Museum and Watchet Boat Museum.
The County has over 50 museums and heritage organisations. The County Council, the District Council of South Somerset and the unitary authority of North Somerset all run museums. The National Trust and English Heritage also have properties in the region, but by far the largest number of museums are run by independent charitable trusts and many of these only flourish due to the commitment of volunteers.
SWFed County Rep: Barbara Gilbert
Barbara is the Senior Archivist at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovilton, Somerset.
Museum Development Officer: Post vacant, filled by January 2014
Museum Development Officers provide a wide range of free support, advice and help to the museums in their area. They co-ordinate meetings, visit museums, help with writing policies and grant applications and are a fund of useful information on everything to do with running a museum. Find out more about MDOs.
- Areas covered: Somerset, North Somerset
- Address: Somerset Heritage Centre, Brunel Way, Taunton, Somerset, TA2 6SF
- Phone: 01823 347454
County Reports & Newsletters
Find out the latest news from Somerset by reading the monthly Museum Development Officer newsletters and SWFed reports. Find the 49 back issues of the MDO newsletter dating back to 2007 here or read the current edition:
MDO Newsletter: Issue 51 - September to October 2013
Museums in Somerset county group
The 57 museums and heritage organisations have grouped together to form the self-help group Museums in Somerset. It meets 3 times a year to discuss issues of mutual interest, share news, participate in training and plan partnership projects.
- Upcoming meeting: 21 October 2013 - agenda
- Previous meeting: 20 May 2013 - draft minutes
- More details including committee, constitution and back copies of minutes
Read a summary of all the county-wide projects that have taken place in Somerset including:
- Somerset Routes 2008-present
- Take One Champion 2009-2013
- Sustainable Somerset Museums 2010-11
- Give1Hour 2009-10
- Somerset Heritage Roadshows 2007-2008
Institutional SWFed Members
- Blake Museum
- Castle Cary & District Museum
- Chard & District Museum
- Coker Rope & Sail Trust
- Community Heritage Access Centre
- Dunster Museum and Dolls Collection
- Fleet Air Arm Museum
- Frome Museum
- Milverton Village Archive
- Museum of Somerset
- Shoe Museum
- Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society
- Somerset Cricket Museum
- Somerset Military Museum
- Washford Radio Museum
- Watchet Market House Museum
- Wellington Museum
- Wells & Mendip Museum
- West Somerset Rural Life Museum
- Westonzoyland Engine Trust