‘Brunel Through a Lens’ Talk on 26th June at 2.30pm

We are delighted to be hosting a Cafe 200 event with the Institution of civil Engineers.

Rose Teanby will be presenting a talk about Brunel’s use of early photography, his creations appearing in early photographs and explaining why he was one of the first engineers to adopt photography.

A selection of rare images will be displayed.  The collection will include the first photographic image of work in progress dating from 1841.  The audience will have the opportunity to discuss these photographs and view some stereoscopic images using an antique viewer.  A civil engineer will also be available to answer questions relating to the details of construction.

Photographers include Robert Howlett, William Henry Fox Talbot, John Dillwyn Llewellyn, Joseph Cundall and Henry Delamotte.

Rose Teanby is a photo historian with a great interest in the photography of civil engineering.  She is the biographer of Robert Howlett and has lectured about his iconic portrait of Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

This event is part of the Café 200 programme of events taking place across the UK to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

Tickets are only £3 and must be booked in advance and are available from the museum on 01823 255088 or on-line from http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/the museum of somerset


A Tudor Christmas on 28th and 29th December

Thursday 28 and Friday 29 December, 10.00 am to 5.00 pm

Celebrating our prestigious exhibition ‘Henry VII: The First Royal Portrait,’ ‘A Tudor Christmas’ explores Tudor life through music, drama, costume and crafts.

There will be a dramatic retelling of Henry VII’s links to Taunton Castle and a traditional Tudor musician, as well as an opportunity to find out about the differences between Christmas celebrations for the rich and poor

Children can dress-up for ‘Royal Selfies’ and follow the Castle Trail around the Museum.

Free event, with a small charge of £1 for the craft activities and the Castle trail.


This event has something for all ages, so ideal to bring along the whole family.

Dino Day Sunday 22nd October

Dino Day 2017[4] Join us for some Dino fun on Sunday 22nd October.  This has become one of our favourite events, with lots of fun for all dino lovers.

You can enjoy crafts and activities, dress up and even disco dance with a dinosaur!

The whole museum will be open with a chance to meet our expert and enjoy our cuddly dino trail.

The museum is open from 10am until 5pm, and the cost which includes all the activities is £3 per person (age 3+) or £10 for a family.  There is no need to book – just turn up.


Summer of Fun Activities for Saturday 2nd September

Join us on Saturday 2nd September for our last day of summer holiday pick and mix activities.

Rhyme Around the World  Multi-sensory exhibition £2pp or £2.20 incl gift Aid (2+)

Trails  – all day Choose from different trails  £1

Pirate dressing up – all day – free


10.00-12.00   Romans – make a mosaic, tell the time in Roman numerals £1

12.30-1.30  Coin Striking – learn how to strike a Celtic Coin  £1

2.00-4.00 Ice Age – make a hairy mammoth, make a cave lion puppet  £1







Discover Taunton Town Tours

Have you ever wondered about the stories behind buildings you pass every day? If so, The Museum of Somerset’s latest town tour might provide some answers.

‘Discover Taunton’ is a guided walking tour exploring the often-surprising history of Somerset’s county town.

Touching on religion, education, science, technology, health and leisure, the tour reveals a thread of experimentation, rebellion and non-conformity which, some might say, is still the character of the West Country. Along the way, you will meet the inventor who inspired Mary Shelly’s vision of Frankenstein, the middle-aged spinster who led Taunton’s own Pilgrim Fathers to seek freedom in the New World and the sixteen-year-old who was thought to be too old to be a teacher. You will also discover how, for much of the last 500 years, the town was a hotbed of religious radicalism!

‘Discover Taunton’ tours are led by volunteers from The Museum of Somerset who also researched the tour’s content with the support of archivists from the South West Heritage Trust. This is the fourth year that the tours have run, each year with a different theme, and over that time they have become more and more popular.

Susie Simmons, Visitor Services Manager at The Museum of Somerset, said “the new tour follows on from last year’s very successful ‘Hidden Taunton’ tours in revealing some of Taunton’s lesser-known stories. This year’s tour really demonstrates the adventurous, pioneering spirit of Somerset people through the years.”

The ‘Discover Taunton’ tour departs from The Museum of Somerset every Saturday at 11.00 am and Wednesday at 2.00 pm from now until the end of September. The tour lasts approximately 90 minutes and finishes at Taunton Visitor Centre.

The tours cost £3.50 per person. Advance booking is highly recommended. You can reserve your place by phoning 01823 255088.

Family fun hydrographic event on Thursday 1st June


Want to learn how to navigate the oceans? Join the fun and learn about hydrography and why it is so important.

 The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office would like to invite you to join them to try out a range of maritime activities in celebration of World Hydrography Day. You can meet their expert mariners, plot your own voyage on a chart or get involved in using navigation software.

 Open to all, this event at The Museum of Somerset is free to attend and suitable for all ages.


Stonehenge: Old Stones, New Ideas. Talk in aid of the Friends of the Museum postponed to Wednesday 3rd May 2017 at 7.30pm

Stonehenge jpeg

Unfortunately this talk has had to be re-scheduled.  We will ring everyone who has bought tickets to see if they can make the new date.  Refunds will be given for those not able to make Wednesday 3rd May.

Join us to find out more from one of England’s best known archaeologists as he shares his passion and knowledge about Stonehenge.Tickets are available from the museum on 01823 255088 or http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/themuseumofsomerset

Exon Domesday

Discovering William the Conqueror’s Somerset

A unique document from the age of William the Conqueror is now on display at The Museum of Somerset in Taunton throughout February and March.

Known as ‘Exon Domesday’, the document was created in 1086 as part of a vast survey of England ordered by its Norman conqueror, William I. It has been preserved for many centuries in Exeter Cathedral Library and is named after the Latin word for Exeter (Exonia).

The most famous book in English history

The document is the most detailed surviving draft of Domesday Book, perhaps the most famous book in English history, and covers the five western counties of Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire, although not all of it has survived.

Its 532 parchment pages give a remarkable picture of the landscape and people of the South West at the time the Normans were taking control and include much information that Domesday Book leaves out, including unique accounts of the levying of the geld, the principal royal tax.

With grateful thanks

“We are deeply grateful to the Dean and Chapter of Exeter Cathedral for allowing us to display Somerset sections from Exon Domesday,’ Tom Mayberry, Chief Executive of the South West Heritage Trust, said. “It is an extraordinary document and a unique survival. Without it we would know far less about South West England in those turbulent years of conquest and change.”

Uncovering the document’s secrets

In 2011 Exon Domesday was removed from its nineteenth-century binding so that digital photography and detailed study could begin. Since then a major research project by a team from King’s College London and the University of Oxford, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, has been uncovering the document’s secrets. One strange and unexplained discovery was the mark of a medieval spearhead imprinted across two of the Somerset pages.

The exhibition runs from Saturday 4 February to Saturday 1 April.

Admission is free.

Associated events

Two talks at the Museum of Somerset by members of the project team will explain Exon Domesday and the research project while the document is on display.

On Thursday 9 March at 7.30 pm Dr Frank Thorn, the foremost living editor and translator of Domesday Book, will speak about Exon Domesday in the Great Hall at the museum (tickets £8.50). Booking available via TicketSource.

On Friday 10 March at 2.30 pm Dr Chris Lewis of King’s College London will speak about how William the Conqueror’s great land tax of 1086 was collected in Somerset. Part of the Talk and Tea series (tickets £5).

Tickets can be booked on 01823 255088.

Halloween – Monday 31st October

Explore the museum on the spookiest night of the year!halloween-fb The museum will be in darkness so do bring along your torch.  There will be crafts and activities and even a bit of magic!

Entrance costs £3 per person (age3+) or a family ticket for up to 2 adults and 3 children costs £10.

Doors will open at 5.30pm prompt.  Tickets are not available in advance but entrance will be quicker if you bring cash!  Last entrance is at 7.30pm




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