The Museum of Somerset
An under-floor Plesiosaur, the largest collection of Roman coins ever discovered in Britain and a chilling recreation of the infamous Bloody Assizes – you’ll find them all at the Museum of Somerset!
Set in the heart of Taunton, the Museum of Somerset lies within the historic 12th Century Taunton Castle.
This must-see visitor attraction tells the county's story from prehistoric times to the present day, using real objects, interactive games, eye-catching film projections and the words and voices of Somerset people, past and present.
The museum houses many of Somerset’s great archaeological treasures such as the Frome Hoard; the largest collection of Roman coins ever discovered in Britain in a single container, and the 4th Century Low Ham mosaic; the oldest object in Britain to tell a complete story - the tragic love story of Dido and Aeneas. The museum also houses the Somerset Military Museum.
As well as the permanent galleries, the museum offers regularly changing temporary exhibitions and activities such as family drop-in sessions and ‘talk and tea’ with a curator. There is also a programme of special events, including evening talks, music and outdoor theatre.
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, and Bank Holiday Mondays: 10:00am to 5:00pm
The Museum of Somerset, Taunton Castle, Castle Green, Taunton, TA1 4AA
10.00am - 5.00pm (Last entry 4.30pm)
Tuesday to Saturday and Bank Holiday Mondays
The museum is open on Good Friday and Easter Bank Holiday Monday (closed Easter Sunday).
Amongst the treasures on display for the first time is the Frome Hoard, the largest collection of Roman coins ever discovered in a single container in Britain, and which was saved for the nation following a national fundraising appeal.
A shrunken head from South America and Judge Jeffreys' medical bill are a few of the many other exhibits to be discovered in the museum.
Archaeology, Archives, Natural Sciences, Costume and Textiles, Decorative and Applied Art, World Cultures, Fine Art, Weapons and War, Coins and Medals, Science and Technology, Social History, Medicine, Personalities, Religion
Colours of Exile: The art of Hans Schwarz
- 21 October 2017 — 3 March 2018 *on now
Hans Schwarz (1922–2003) was a child of Jewish heritage in pre-war Vienna and was sent to safety in England where he worked at the Cadbury factory in Bournville near Birmingham.
He was soon interned as an enemy alien but on his return to Birmingham he trained as an artist and became a successful illustrator.
But his first love was painting and after a period working in London, he and his family moved to Stogursey in Somerset where he worked full-time on painting, sculpture and writing.
This period was pivotal in his career. He completed many commissions and, while continuing to paint in oils, also discovered striking ways of using watercolour. Somerset was a major inspiration for Hans Schwarz, and many recognisable places and people feature in the exhibition.
FREE ENTRY. Open Tues - Sat 10.00 am to 5.00 pm.
- 20 January 2018 10am-1pm
- 10 March 2018 10am-1pm
Bring your finds to be identified and recorded by our expert.
- Family friendly
- 26 January 2018 2-3pm
Discover more of the hidden history of Taunton Castle through the ages. Includes a number of steep and uneven steps. Pre-book only.
- Not suitable for children
£3.50 per person. Pre book only.
- 8 February 2018 2-2:30pm
- 20 March 2018 2-2:30pm
A short talk with one of the Visitor Services team. Suggested donation £1.00
Suggested donation £1.00
Talk and Tea
- 9 February 2018 2:30-3:30pm
A Blast from the Past - medieval woodwind instruments with Jonathan Weeks. Includes tea and cake.
£5.00 per person. Booking advisable.
Terrible Tales and Ghostly Goings On
- 22 February 2018 7-8pm
- 22 March 2018 7-8pm
Tour of the museum in the dark ,exploring some of the castle's more gruesome history. Pre book only. Ticket price includes a drink on arrival.
- Not suitable for children
£10.00 per person. Pre-book only.
The Buildings of Somerset - Revising Pevsner
- 8 March 2018 From 7:30pm
Julian Orbach is an author and lecturer in architectural history. He was architectural adviser to the Victorian Society in 1975-7 and wrote the Blue Guide to Victorian Buildings in Britain, published in 1987. He also worked on the listing of historic buildings in England. In 2009 he moved to Somerset to revise Pevsner's volume on South and West Somerset in the Buildings of England series.
The Pevsner Architectural Guides are a series of guide books to the architecture of Great Britain and Ireland. Begun in the 1940s by the art historian Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, the 46 volumes of the original Buildings of England series were published between 1951 and 1974.
£9.50 booking advised
Research Your House History
- 9 March 2018 From 2:30pm
Research your house history with Senior Archivist Esther Hoyle from the Somerset Archives team. Followed by tea and cake.
£5.00 - booking advised.
An Imperial Sunset: The Somerset Light Infantry and Indian Independence
- 13 March 2018 2:30-3:30pm
A talk by Lieutenant Colonel David Elliott to mark the return of the Somerset Light Infantry from India on 17 March 1948. Booking advisable.
£4.00 per ticket. Booking advisable.
Family Fun - Romans
- 31 March 2018
Crafts and activities based around the Museum's Roman mosaics and collections. Drop-in 11.00 am to 1.00 pm and 2.00 pm to 3.30 pm.
The Museum of Somerset