DORSET County Museum will be throwing open its doors for free during a week of essential refurbishment works.

The popular tourist attraction based in Dorchester will be closing its main hall, the Victorian Gallery, from January 20 to January 27.

This is to enable major repairs to be carried out to the original Victorian wooden floor which has suffered damage from many years of general wear and tear.

As a result of the works, there will be no charge for admission from January 20 to 25 and it is believed the museum will be fully open again from January 27.

Museum director Jon Murden is encouraging all those interested in visiting – be it first time visitors or those who may have visited before – to come and see what the museum has to offer.

He added: “It’s always a shame to close a gallery but this essential work will clean up the whole area, replace any loose blocks and give us a safe and attractive floor for the foreseeable future.

“On the plus side, with free entry for the whole week, visitors can come in, spend time in the other galleries, and see fantastic displays such as our massive pliosaur skull or the recently found Iron Age mirror in the archaeology gallery.

“Therefore, for people wanting a free visit to the museum, who are happy to miss out on one section, this is an excellent opportunity to save some much needed money after Christmas.”

In addition the current exhibition, The Heart that Fed, will also be open and many of the paintings and sculptures on show there are still for sale.

Museum marketing manager Rachel Cole added: “Our tea room and shop will not be affected by the work so we hope visitors will spend some time there too and the current exhibition is well worth seeing.”

For more information contact the museum on 01305 262735 or visit