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Page last updated at 08:59 GMT, Monday, 18 January 2010
History of the World in Dorset
The Logboat, at Poole Museum,
The Logboat, at Poole Museum, is 10 metres long

The History of the World project explores the objects that have helped shaped the world.

Here in Dorset, local museums have selected ten objects that are part of that story.

Choosing the objects to represent Dorset was a careful process.

Museums across the county were invited to submit their ideas for objects that could be included, and the curator of Dorset County Museum helped select the final ten.

Rachel Cole, from the County Museum, said: "Myself and the county museum's director Jon Murden contacted all of the main museums in Dorset, giving them an outline of the project and what we were looking for.

"We really wanted objects that helped tell the story of Dorset, and our history."

The Moule Earth Closet
The Moule Earth Closet is "an important part of social history"

Of the ten objects, several came from the the county museum itself: the ballista bolt - found on the skeleton of a Roman soldier after excavation work at Maiden Castle, an earth closet, and a model brewery.

Rachel said: "We chose the ballista bolt because of our close association with Maiden Castle and the connection with the Roman invasion of Britain and because it was part of a very interesting human story.

"The earth closet [the first composting toilet] was chosen as an item of important social history and the final object, the model brewery, is part of a wider industrial and social history of Dorchester and of the position of Dorset County Museum as a focus of Dorset history in that county town.

"A world first"

Other objects in the project include The Swash Channel Wreck, Mary Anning's fossil extraction tool and the first ever tank, nominated by the Tank Museum in Bovington.

Little Willie
The Little Willie was the first ever tank

David Wiley, curator of the Tank Museum explained why he nominated the Little Willie tank.

He said: "It is a world first - the first ever tank, that shows invention and ingenuity to overcome what was a major problem on the First War Battlefield - how to try and save the lives of our own troops in pushing an entrenched enemy Army out of the land they had occupied.

"As a British invention the tank was quickly developed and its uses expanded - and of course it has been emulated and developed by countries all around the world. Though Little Willie was not made in Dorset, soon after the Tank's invention Bovington was selected as a training ground for the new tank force. The Army and its tracked vehicles have remained in Dorset ever since."

War bonnet

The 'war bonnet'
The headdress shows how well-travelled people in Bournemouth were

Perhaps one of the more unusual objects of Dorset's 10 is a war bonnet, on display at Bournemouth's Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum.

The war bonnet represents Bournemouth's position and status in the world at the turn of the last century, as well as being an interesting item in its own right.

In 1936, John Buchan (Lord Tweedsmuir, 1875-1940), the Governor-General of Canada, visited the Blood Tribe in Alberta. He was made a chief of the tribe, given the name "Eagle Head" and presented with a war bonnet by Chief "Shot Both Sides". It was then later left to the museum.

Marion Budgett from the museum explained: "Interestingly, the headdress in itself has no actual connection with Bournemouth, but the reason for its acquisition does.

"As an object it embodies the type of intriguing and significant items that have been acquired by the museum from across the world.

"This is a direct result of the type of place Bournemouth was during the late 1800s and early 1900s, an attractive area to retire to encouraging many middle-classes to settle here. These people were often returning from travels across the empire and beyond and presented objects to the museum that reflected their interests in and fascination with other cultures."

The History of the World project is a collaboration between the BBC and the British Museum.

A History of the World in Dorset - the full list of objects

All of the objects chosen for Dorset can be viewed on this page and on the main BBC History of the World website and listen out for coverage on BBC Radio Solent's Jon Cuthill programme, week commencing 18 January 2010, 0930 - 1300.

Get involved - a special event at Dorset County Museum

BBC Radio Solent and Dorset County Museum will be holding a special History of the World event a special History of the World event at the museum on Wednesday 17 February 2010.

As well as an opportunity to view some of the ten Dorset objects featured above, you will also be able to chat to experts about the historical importance of your own objects.

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