Dorset is fortunate to have a wealth of arts and cultural organisations which add greatly to the quality of life for residents and visitors. Many of these organisations rely on volunteers, either providing all the services or working alongside paid staff. There is a very wide variety of roles for volunteers from preparing and performing to planning and administration. You might like to volunteer because you are a keen supporter of the arts or perhaps as a step towards gaining employment in the world of the arts. Below is a list of just some of the organisations which we know welcome volunteers along with brief details of the roles available. Note that some organisations operate all year round whilst others have a limited period or 'season'. For more information or to apply to be a volunteer contact details are given.
Museums & Galleries
Painting, Sculpture & Crafts
7-9 The Little Keep, Bridport Road, Dorchester, DT1 1SQ
A strategic organisation which supports the production of contemporary theatre, dance and outdoor festivals/events across the county. We work with artists, producers, local government departments, educators
Volunteers may be involved in various aspects of our work
Contact: Irene Archibald, Administrator, 01305 260954, Email: email@example.com
BARRINGTON CENTRE, Ferndown
Pennys Walk, Ferndown, BH22 9TH
Provides a varied programme of educational, social and recreational interest for the benefit of the local population.
The centre is run by Ferndown Community Association. Volunteers work on various practical and administrative tasks to support the programme of events and activities
Contact: Brian Sutton, Manager, Tel: 01202 894858, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Presents a variety of live theatre, dance and music, and has an exhibition space.
Volunteers work alongside the staff team in a variety of roles including production and administration.
THE ELECTRIC PALACE
Electric Palace, Bridport
South Street, Bridport, DT6 3NR
A restored Edwardian cinema which now hosts live theatre, music and film
Volunteers are involved in all aspects of the operation
Contact: Gabby Hitchin, Tel: 01308 428354, Email: email@example.com
The Exchange, Sturminster Newton
Old Market Hill, Sturminster Newton, DT10 1FH
A community centre which is also a venue for theatre, music and dance, and an exhibition space
Volunteers are involved in many roles in operating the centre and managing events
Contact: Isabelle Allison, Centre Manager, Tel: 01258 475137, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
MARINE THEATRE, Lyme Regis
Church Street, Lyme Regis, DT7 3QA
Lyme Regis Community Trust runs the theatre to promote understanding and appreciation of the arts for the residents of the area. We support the presentation of theatre and visual arts.
Volunteers are involved in running the trust, promoting events and running the theatre
Contact: Nigel Day, Manager, Tel: 01297 442394, Email: email@example.com
MOWLEM THEATRE, Swanage
Shore Road, Swanage, BH19 1DD
Run by a charitable trust as a venue for live entertainment and films.
Volunteers are involved in operation of the theatre and helping with productions. The trustees are also volunteers
Contact: The Manager, Tel: 01929 422239
c/o Three Chimneys, Pymore Lane, Dottery, Bridport, DT6 5PS
An opera and music theatre touring company, small to middle scale productions, UK and international. Commissions and produces new contemporary work linked to social and educational projects
Volunteers support performances in Bridport or on tour. Various tasks.
Contact: Tina Ellen Lee, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
ROYAL MANOR THEATRE
138A Fortuneswell, Portland, DT5 1LT
Provides live theatrical entertainment for Portland. Also runs courses and workshops in theatre for young people aged 8 – 18.
Volunteers are involved in running the company, events and the youth workshops
Contact: Tel:01305 860792
Contact: Paul Schilling, Marketing Director, Tel: 01747 853224
TIVOLI THEATRE, WIMBORNE
West Borough, Wimborne, BH21 1LT
A restored 1930s cine/theatre offering live theatre, music and films
Volunteers help run all services including administration, front of house and backstage/technical
Whitcombe Road, Beaminster, DT8 3BU
Covers the history and heritage of Beaminster. Has permanent and changing exhibitions on various
The museum is run by volunteers who staff the museum, plan the exhibits and care for collections
Contact: Jenny Cuthbert, Collection Currator Tel: 01308 861146
BLANDFORD TOWN MUSEUM
Bere’s Yard, Blandford Forum, DT11 7HQ
The museum houses and displays artefacts from Blandford Forum and surrounding villages. There is also a scale model of the railways of Blandford. A recreated Victorian garden is being developed.
The museum relies on volunteers for care of exhibits, research, visitor services and education
BLANDFORD FASHION MUSEUM
Lime Tree House, The Plocks, Blandford Forum, DT11 7AA
Conserves and presents a representative history of costume from 1700’s. There is also a resources room for students of fashion and textiles.
The museum is run entirely by volunteers; caring for exhibits, visitor services, trustees
Contact: Gordon Boutelle, Administrator Tel: 01258 454084
The Coach House, Gundry Lane, Bridport, DT6 3RJ
Tells the story of the town’s history from earliest times to present day.
Managed and run by volunteers, including curatorial, visitor services and education,
Contact: The Curator, Tel: 01308 458703, Email:, email@example.com
DORSET COUNTY MUSEUM
High West Street, Dorchester, DT1 1XA
A large museum recording the history, cultural and natural history of Dorset and Dorchester, owned and managed by the Dorset Natural History & Archaeology Society.
Volunteers are involved in visitor services (including running the café), education and curatorial work
Chantry Fields, Gillingham, SP8 4UA
A museum covering the history and natural history of Gillingham and surrounding area. There are permanent and temporary exhibitions and resources for students.
The museum is run by the Gillingham Local History Society who welcome new members and volunteers to help run the museum and visitor services
GOLD HILL MUSEUMS AND GARDENS
Gold Hill, Shaftesbury, SP7 8JW
Owned and run by the Shaftesbury & District Historical Society this a museum on the history of Shaftesbury and district. There is a permanent and regular temporary collections. There is also an attractive garden.
Volunteers are involved in visitor services, preparing displays, education and maintaining the garden
Contact: The Curator, Tel: 01747 852157 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
THE KEEP MILITARY MUSEUM
Bridport Road, Dorchester, DT1 1RN
A specialist museum on the history of the Dorset Regiments and the army in Dorset
Volunteers are essential to the work of the museum. They are involved in curatorial and archival work, and in visitor services.
Contact: The Curator Tel: 01305 264066, Email: email@example.com
LANGTON MATRAVERS MUSEUM
Located behind St George’s church in centre of village
A museum of the geology and stone working history of Purbeck
Run by volunteers of the Langton Matravers Local History and Preservation Society
Contact: The Curator, Tel: 01929 423168
LYME REGIS PHILPOT MUSEUM
Bridge Street, Lyme Regis, DT7 3QA
A museum of the history and especially the geology of the Lyme Regis district. As well as displays there is a large archive and collection of artefacts for research and education purposes.
Volunteers are involved in curatorial work, visitor services and education, and helping to run events (including the annual fossil festival)
Contact: Kate Hebditch, Acting Curator, Tel: 01297 443370, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
217 Wakeham, Portland, DT5 1HS
A museum recording the history and heritage of Portland
Volunteers run the visitor services and curatorial tasks.
Contact: Lisa Gravett, Curator, Tel: 01305 821804, Email: email@example.com
ROYAL SIGNALS MUSEUM
Blandford Camp, Blandford Forum, DT11 8RH
A specialist museum on the history of The Royal Signals regiment and military communication. There are extensive permanent and changing displays and resources for education and research
Volunteers are involved in visitor services, interpretation and curatorial tasks
Contact: Adam Forty, Business Manager Tel: 01258 482248 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
RED HOUSE MUSEUM
Quay Road, Christchurch, BH23 1BU
A museum of local history with a large collection of documents and artifacts. The Georgian building houses a permanent and regularly changing temporary exhibitions.
Volunteers are involved in stewarding duties, curatorial tasks, preparing exhibitions and maintenance of the gardens.
Contact: Paul Willis, Museum Manager Tel: 01202 482860 Email: email@example.com
Award winning museum recording the history of Shaftesbury Abbey, the site includes the remains of the abbey and the recreated gardens
Volunteers are involved in visitor services, education, conservation, gardening and events.
Contact: Mike Irvine, Manager, Tel: 01747 852910 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Church Lane, Sherborne, DT9 3BP
A museum of the history of Sherborne and district. Permanent and changing exhibits, archives and artefacts for research and education.
Volunteers are responsible for much of the work of the museum including curatorial, visitor services and education, research and events.
Contact: Elisabeth Bletsoe, Administrator, Tel: 01935 812252 Email: email@example.com
SHERBORNE STEAM & WATERWHEEL MUSEUM
Oborne Road, Sherborne, DT9 3RX
Set up to rescue, restore and open to public view the 26ft high water wheel which provided water supplies to the area. Also collections of other engineering artefacts.
The museum is run by volunteers who are involved in maintenance work, research and visitor services.
Contact: Geoff Ward, Tel: 01963 250206 or Robert Harris, Tel: 01935 389535
STURMINSTER NEWTON MUSEUM
1 Old Market Cross House, Sturminster Newton, DT10 1AN
A museum to record the history and people of Sturminster and district, run by the Sturminster Newton Museum & Mill Society
Volunteers are involved in preparing exhibits, visitor services, running the shop
Contact: Steve Case Tel: 01258 472568
SWANAGE MUSEUM AND HERITAGE CENTRE
The Square, Swanage, BH19 2LJ
A museum recording the history and natural history of Swanage for public display and education. There is also a Local Studies Centre located at Marine Villas near Swanage Pier.
Run by volunteers who are responsible for curatorial work, exhibitions, education and visitor services.
Contact: The Curator Tel: 01929 421427 firstname.lastname@example.org
THE TANK MUSEUM
Bovington, Dorset, BH20 6JG
A national museum covering the history of the tank and armoured warfare. Extensive displays and large archives and artefact collections.
Volunteers work in various roles alongside paid staff, including visitor services, education, curatorial tasks and in the workshops.
Contact: Tel: 01929 405096 Email: email@example.com
WAREHAM TOWN MUSEUM
East Street, Wareham, BH20 4NN
The museum tells the story of Wareham from prehistory to modern times, with a special section on Lawrence of Arabia.
The museum is run entirely by volunteers who are responsible for curatorial tasks, exhibits and visitor services.
Contact: Mike O’Hara, Curator, Tel: 01929 553006, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
BOURNEMOUTH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
2 Selsdown Lane, Poole, BH15 1UF
A major regional professional orchestra offering an annual programme of classical music at The Lighthouse in Poole and on tour.
Volunteers are needed at The Lighthouse to be involved in marketing, helping with mailings or in our box office for processing bookings, databasing and other tasks.
Contact: Johanna Bueker, Marketing Manager, Tel: 01202 644714.
Email: email@example.com www.bsolive.com
CODA MUSIC TRUST
Chewton Farm Road, Christchurch, BH23 5QL
A local arts centre dedicated to music, teaching people of all ages and abilities. We work in the community and with groups, and we use music therapy to make life better for people. Our music therapists specialise in working with people with disability or illness.
We welcome volunteers for a variety of roles e.g. supporting tutors working with people with learning difficulties, the elderly, children from 18 months upwards. Also supporting the office staff and maintaining the site (a farm conversion).
Contact: Rosemary or Lisa, Centre Administrators, Tel: 01425 276161
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.coda.org.uk
BRIDPORT LOCAL HISTORY CENTRE
The Coach House, Gundry Lane, Bridport, DT6 3RJ
Provides a resource for people with an interest in local history and tracing family trees.
Volunteers work on record keeping and assisting visitors to use the resources.
Contact: Alice Martin, Curator, Tel: 01308 458703 Email: email@example.com
DORSET NATURAL HISTORY & ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY
Dorset County Museum, High West Street, Dorchester, DT1 1XA
The society owns and manages the Dorset County Museum and runs a series of lectures and events through its affiliated societies and organisations. Interests include history and archaeology, natural history, geology, arts. Volunteers are involved in all aspects of running the society and its events.
Contact: Elita Kirby, Museum Secretary, Tel: 01305 262735, Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
THE NOTHE FORT
Barack Road, Weymouth , DT4 8UF
A fort built in 1860 for coastal and harbour defence. Now a museum displaying structures and artefacts from its long history and hosting a recreation of past times. The fort is also the venue for outdoor events and performances. The fort is run by the Weymouth Civic Society and a team of volunteers, who are responsible for maintenance of buildings and artefacts, visitor services etc.
Contact: Administration Manager Tel: 01305 766626 Email: email@example.com
A preserved water mill run by the Sturminster Newton Museum & Mill Society.
Run by volunteers who are responsible for maintenance and operation, and visitor services
Contact: Steve Case Tel: 01258 472568
SWANAGE RAILWAY TRUST
Station House, Swanage, BH19 1HB
Established to restore and run the former mainline railway from Wareham to Swanage.
We have over 500 volunteers who work alongside our permanent staff, involved in all aspects of running a railway. Permanent way, locomotives and rolling stock, operations, passenger services, shop, events and company administration.
Contact: Mike Whitwam, Volunteer Coordinator, Tel: 01929 475212
WALFORD MILL CRAFTS
Stone Lane, Wimborne, Dorset. BH21 1NL
Based in a restored water mill the centre is nationally recognised for their work in contemporary craft as part of creative and cultural industries. As well as the shop the centre run an extensive programme of courses in craft-related subjects.
Volunteers are involved in the Gallery shop, in the education programme, design and administration
Contact: Nicole Habgood, Marketing Manager, Tel: 01202 841400,