EXHIBITIONS focusing on the 75th anniversary of D-Day and exploring crime and punishment in a small west Dorset town will be on show from Friday.

Beaminster Museum is set to re-open its doors for the 2019 season on April 19 with its collections and exhibits reflecting the town and its neighbouring villages, as well as some brand new exhibitions.

New for this year will be the D-Day exhibition, featuring the events of 1944 from a local angle.

Our county regiment, The Dorsets, played a key role in the operations and at least one Beaminster man fought with them.

The US 16th Infantry Regiment were also in training and some of their troops found themselves stationed at Beaminster and made a big impact on the lives of the residents.

On D-Day itself, the 1st Battalion of The Dorsets had the 16th Infantry as their nearest westward neighbours on the Normandy beaches.

The exhibition traces the converging journeys of these international comrades in arms.

Another brand-new exhibition for this year is crime and punishment, which explores the evolving beliefs and practices, mainly through Georgian and Victorian times, and illustrates them with tales of local villains.

Beaminster and the surrounding parishes managed to keep the local prisons well stocked and provided plenty of employment for celebrity executioners.

There are stories of alleged witches, callous murderers, thieves, drunken women and speeding carters to name but a few.

Visitors will have the opportunity to try the pillory for size, turn the crank, track down Lord Seaborough’s stolen watch and carry contraband through the smugglers’ passage at the foot of the cliffs.

As well as the two new exhibitions, the museum will also showcase its geology collection, which has been developed in association with Horn Park Quarry, and its Neolithic axes, put on display last year, as well as its agricultural section with emphasis on flax and hemp production.

The museum opens its doors on Good Friday (19/4) from 10.30am to 4pm.

For more information and opening times, visit beaminstermuseum.co.uk