In around 1960 a small Museum was first formed at the back of the Co-Op shop in Patwell Street. No one now remembers how long it was there for - probably not long.
Later the concept was resurrected and the Bruton Museum Society was formed in February 1989 by a group of local people with the intention of creating a formal Museum in the town to display and preserve some of Bruton’s rich heritage for the future.
From the outset it was intended that the Community would be involved with the project and all four Schools in Bruton recognised the educational value of the idea. To begin with a local trader offered the use of the basement of his shop (the Co-Op) as a home for many of the interesting items that had been collected. In 1989 the National Westminster Bank, now the HSBC, agreed to make available a disused Coach House, together with outbuildings and garden, as a base for the Museum which finally opened there on 30 May 1992.
When the bank sold their premises the Museum continued for a short while but were obliged to find alternative accommodation in 1997. For a while all the exhibits had to be put in storage.
By good fortune the Dovecote Building was on the market and it was jointly purchased by South Somerset District Council and Bruton Town Council to house a Community Office - plus a new, and expanded, Museum which was formally opened in June 1999.
The move to larger, and more accessible, premises has enabled the display of many more artefacts in better surroundings. Light and sound displays have enhanced the various exhibits. All of these give something of the flavour of Bruton’s varied history. Local people continue to find pieces of historical importance and interest. We always welcome them.
There are at least two special exhibitions a year to display aspects of the collection which, pleasingly, is always growing. School parties and bona fide research workers are always welcomed: advance notice of a visit is helpful via the Community Office, Tel/Fax: 01749 812851 or via the Curator, Tel: 01749 813513. Lectures and social meeting are held in it from time to time.
The Bruton Museum now welcomes many visitors a year from all over the world and is recognised as the best small museum in Somerset. There is a cafe, tourist information office and a toilet with disabled access and baby changing facilities. Disabled access to the museum was installed in 2003. Run by volunteers it is a fun visit for people of all ages.
Bruton Museum Society is a Registered Charity (1008144)