The Dinosaur Museum opened in the summer of 1984 and proved an immediate hit with the public, teachers and museum professionals.
The museum has attracted acclaim and praise for its innovative and interesting approach and has become Dorchester's foremost visitor attraction bringing, over the years, millions of dinosaur hungry families and schools to the county town. The museum was the first in Britain to be solely devoted to dinosaurs.
The museum has consistently enthralled and entertained children with its mix of fossils, skeletons, life-size dinosaur reconstructions combined with hands on and multimedia displays. It has almost taken of a life of its own, with many people who have fond memories of visiting the museum when they were children in the early years now returning with their own children to let them enjoy the Museum's unique appeal.
The Dinosaur Museum was nominated for the European Museum of the Year Award in 1985. Since then it has won many accolades and has recieved wide recognition for its achievements. These honours include: "One of Britain's Top Ten Hands On Attractions" by both The Daily Telegraph and Bella Magazine in 1992; "Dorset's Family Attraction of the Year" in The Good Guide to Britain in 1997; "One of the Ten Best Bank Holiday outings for Children in the South West" in the Independent in 2001; "One of the Ten Best Child Friendly Museums" in the Daily Telegraph in 2006.
The Dinosaur Museum was the first museum to use computers in a display environment with specially dedicated programs. It also invented the 'Feely Box' the most successful of all the hands on displays within the museum. Representatives from many other establishments have come to the Dinosaur Museum to seek inspiration and take away ideas and adapt them for their own environments. Most notably these have included, Eureka! the children's museum in Halifax, the Ulster Museum, The Beijing Natural History Museum and the Valcidacos Dinosaur Project, in Rioja, Spain.
The Dinosaur Museum provides a fun, interactive and exciting environment in which chiildren, families and adults can discover more about dinosaurs and their fascinating prehistoric world.
The Museum has frequently appeared on television usually in children's programmes such as Blue Peter, The Really Wild Show, Tickabilla, Words & Pictures, and the Tweenies. The Dinosaur Museum has an extensive and lively educational programme with many schools visiting year after year. It has actively supported local and national charities over the years.
The Dinosaur Museum is part of World Heritage Ltd an organisation devoted to the development and management of museums and attractions, plus other related activities in the tourism sector.