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Dover's town museum, located pretty centrally in the town's Marker Square and adjacent to the relatively new Discovery Centre, tells Dover's history through the s collection, which consists of an archaeology display, models and replicas (including a set of scale models showing the development of the town and port of Dover from the Roman times up to 1990) and informative computer displays which include games and interactive exhibits.
As far as municipal museums go, the main display isn't at all bad, and if you are devoting any time to Dover at all, paying a quick visit might be a good idea. The displays are well presented and described, and the access to additional information through computer terminals and from members of staff is very good.
None of it is particularly breathtaking, but it is reasonably substantial and put together with care. My personal favourite is the gallery showing how the port changed from the Roman times through three-dimensional scale models. Children are more likely to be interested in small models of Roman and Saxon soldiers, complete with elephants; and the Victorian gallery with life-sized displays of clothing and interiors.
The highlight of the museum is, however, undoubtedly, a special high-tech gallery devoted to the Dover Bronze Age Boat, the oldest seafaring vessel in the world dug out when the new A20 was being built in 1992.
The boat itself (or rather what's left of it, put together) is shown off in a special glass display case but the find is a focus and a starting point for a number of imaginative exhibits, some hands-on, some traditional, concerning not just the boat itself and sea-faring 3,500 years ago, but the Bronze Age in general.
There are puzzles and interactive stations for the young ones, microscopes for viewing details of evidence from the excavation, small audio-visual auditorium running a film about the boat's discovery and even a replica hut, complete with inhabitants, showing how people lived in those days.
This gallery lifts the Dover Museum well above the normal town museum standards. It doesn't go overboard on the "interactive", but provides enough interest for both adults and older children to make the visit educational and memorable.
The museum runs regular family days, when children can make all kinds of craft items, from Christmas "stained glass" decorations to animal masks and Roman costumes, and the staff - often dressed up in historical costumes - are helpful, knowledgeable and seem interested in making the visitors interested.
There is a small gift shop, while next door in the Discovery Centre there is a pretty good cafe called Matzo which is one of the better places in town for lunch or a quick bite.
An hour or an hour and half is probably a maximum time most visitors would spend in the museum, and at £2.50 per adult (residents have free entry) it's worth visiting, though not an absolute must unless you have a particular interest in Dover's history or Bronze Age.
10am - 5.30pm Monday to Saturday
12pm - 5.00pm Sunday
Closed December 25th and 26th and on 1st January
CT16 1PB Dover
Founded over 150 years ago, the museum was rehoused in a new three-storey building behind its original Victorian facade in 1991. Be sure to visit the newly opened Dover Bronze Age Boat gallery.