OLD and new have been brought together in a free exhibition at the Dorset County Museum.

The Encounters: Wessex Contemporary Artists meet Dorset County Museum exhibition opened in Dorchester on Saturday.

More than 200 people attended the preview event to check out the works of 24 artists, many of which are displayed alongside artefacts from the museum’s unique collections.

Jo Saurin, one of the artists featured and a curator of the exhibition said: “This is not an exhibition designed to intimidate the visitor but to encourage them, through encounters with fragments of the past, to unearth buried memories and make them contemporary.

“Encounters focuses on shared ancestry, poignant memory and loved landscape and there are links throughout with objects and ideas held by the Museum.”

The artist from Wessex Contemporary Arts drew inspiration for the display from Dorchester museum’s archaeology collection as well as from the Dorset landscape.

The exhibition aims to show how examining the collections at the museum led to the creation of a range of original works of art by displaying the artefacts alongside the artwork.

Jon Murden, director of Dorset County Museum said: “This is one of the most challenging exhibitions we have worked on for some time, but also one of the most fascinating.

“For me, the mixture of brand new works of art displayed alongside the iconic artefacts which inspired them is particularly interesting.”

The museum will be holding three sessions where the artists behind the display will be on hand to talk about their work.

The first will be from 10.30am to 12noon this Thursday and there will be further sessions on Thursday, April 4 and Thursday, April 11.

A number of the artists will also be running workshops in conjunction with the exhibition, which will be at the museum until June 7.

Entry to the exhibition is free and more information is available by picking up a leaflet from the museum shop or visiting www.dorsetcountymuseum.org.