Another highlight of this museum, meanwhile, is the Literary Gallery. Aside from the oddity of the Dorset Ooser (a folk figure, half-man and half-bull), this gives particular prominence to the rural poet and schoolteacher William Barnes and the man he mentored, poet and novelist Thomas Hardy, whose two houses are on the edges of Dorchester. Some of Hardy’s original manuscripts are on display, and there is a recreation of his entire study from his house Max Gate. Other literary luminaries celebrated here include John Cowper Powys and Sylvia Townsend Warner and the author of the early thriller Moonfleet, John Meade Falkner.
Whatever exciting developments lie ahead, this is already a very satisfying museum, well worth a few hours of your time on the way to the beach at Weymouth, Charmouth or Lyme!