There are five on-site galleries here at the Dean Heritage Centre allowing you to travel through time from the pre-historic Forest to how the community coped during WW2.
Activities, interactive displays, loads of indoor fun! Fully interactive and great fun, our indoor activity trails will help you to learn more about the centre and its fascinating exhibits. There's always something new to learn and discover. Ask a member of our team at the centre for more details during your visit.
Pre-historic & Early History
Gallery One investigates the fascinating geology and landscape of the Forest of Dean. Various displays reveal the fossilised remains of the plants and animals that once inhabited the local area, as well as the pre-historic tools of the Forest's first farmers used to make a living. Early Roman occupation and the iron industry can also be explored within this gallery.
Medieval to 18th Century
Gallery Two explores the history of the Forest of Dean as a Royal Medieval hunting forest. Forest Laws were introduced to protect the wild deer and boar hunted by Kings, and the woodland in which they grazed.
Special courts and officials known as Verderers administered the rules. This gallery also explores the part played by the Forest of Dean in the English Civil war and tells how Admiral Nelson saved the Forest from destruction.
Industry & Society
Gallery Three examines the Forest of Dean's industrial legacy from the Victorian times onwards. It examines the fishing industries generated by the Rivers Severn and Wye to the many cottage crafts such as cobbling, carpentry and blacksmithing.
A significant part of the gallery is dedicated to the Dean's coal mining past, from stories of mining disasters and rescues to the everyday tools and objects that were part of the miner's life.
Gallery Four is also known as "Gallery 41", and is the community gallery as it is 41 parishes that make up the Forest of Dean district. As well as a display about the Forest during the Second World War, the gallery also features a changing programme of exhibitions, telling the story of the Forest people, past and present.
Power & Transport
Gallery Five focuses on the advent of steam power and transport from the 1800s. The gallery features a working Beam Engine, which was made at Hewlett's iron foundry at Camp Mill, which is home to the museum.
It also features other working models and interactive displays demonstrating the use of steam power.
Our Victorian School Classroom provides students with an excellent learning experience. Students will step back in time and experience what life was like in a Victorian School Room using only slate and chalk as their workbooks. Younger visitors will also be able to dress up in a traditional Victorian costumes or try their hand at old fashioned playtime games providing an excellent photo opportunity!
The Forester's Cottage is a reconstructed cottage showing you what a traditional Forester's home would have looked like in the past. Utilising local materials in the reconstruction, the cottage has its original fireplaces including a kitchen range as well as the furnishings to demonstrate typical home life for Foresters. In the cottage grounds you will find a delightful vegetable patch and a variety of cider making equipment.
The Craft Hut
Let’s get creative! After exploring outdoors and around the fun activity trails in the museum, our Craft Hut is the perfect place for younger visitors to settle down and get creative. A great option on a rainy day! The Craft Hut is open at weekends and during the school holidays.