Portland Museum has been collecting an eclectic variety of objects since 1930 when Marie Stopes first founded and curated the museum. Since then, we have amassed around 3,500 items, many of which, fall into the four key themes categorised below.
Outside of these themes, we also exhibit: a local archaeology display that includes some of the remains of nearby St Andrew’s Church (of Anglo-Saxon origin), Bronze Age and Roman pottery, Mesolithic tools, and two, unique iron ingots, also known as Double pyramid & Bi-pyramid bars; a Portland Prison display; a railway and local transport display; a cabinet of pre-war audio/visual items designed by the local Marshall brothers that includes the Portland III valve radio and an early Televisor/Spinning Disc Television; a folklore and customs display that features mummified cats and other objects stored in homes to ward off evil spirits; an exhibition of Court Leet related items including the unique reeve staffs: an ancient system of recording rent paid to the Crown by local landowners.
Aside from our cabinet displays, visitors can watch and listen to films based on Portland’s maritime history, stone industry, railway history, and the Portland lighthouses.
As part of our commitment to improving the accessibility of our collection, you will find more of the collection items above appearing in the photo galleries featured on this website, throughout 2022.
A Portland Photography Archive
A page-for-page archive of Geoff Kirby’s “Exploring Portland” website, which Geoff built from scratch and by-hand over many many years. The full content has been kindly donated by Geoff and we have kept it in exactly the format Geoff laid out.
We hope you have fun exploring this archvie, as it is a unique Portland digital artifiact in itself and also enjoy the fascinating imagary it contains.
Please browse the galleries for photos and images of some of our key collection items. We are frequently adding images to the galleries and you can always email us if there is a particular something you are searching for that you can’t find here.
Rufus Castle Project
In the summer of 2021, Portland Museum and its partner, Guildhall Live, began a project to produce a 3D scan of nearby Rufus Castle. You can access and navigate the castle, as well as enjoying a virtual tour, by pressing the button below.
The Earl of Abergavenny Project
Diving into the Digital Archives of The Earl of Abergavenny is an ongoing National Lottery funded project designed to develop digital skills amongst volunteers. Exploring the story of a ship that was wrecked off Portland Bill in 1805, Portland Museum volunteers are currently 3D scanning many of the finds retrieved from the shipwreck site and uploading them for you to view and find out about here.