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Where are you going? Journeys in pictures from the collections of Portsmouth Museums

Portsmouth's collections include many works of art that show people on the move.  In this selection of paintings, photographs and prints people use different types of transport to travel on land, by water and in the air.  Some pictures show recognisable places and familiar journeys - ferry trips on the Solent and people travelling around the city by bicycle or on foot.  Others depict less obvious journeys and are more open to interpretation.  So come on down to Portsmouth Museum and see where we can take you.

A Hard Choice
14 February – 27 September 2015

Stories behind Portsmouth’s collections of art and design.

What do a Turner watercolour, a 13th century cosmetic jar and a gramophone painted by Dora Carrington have in common?

They were all acquired for Portsmouth Museums during the curatorship of Rosalinda Hardiman over the past 35 years. Rosalinda is the ‘Queen of Eclectics’, a curator with wide ranging interests and full of arcane and quirky facts.

Showcasing the diversity of Portsmouth's collections, Rosalinda reveals the stories behind the objects and the hidden world of the curator. The exhibition will share her knowledge and joy in museum collections. Fine and decorative art will feature strongly.

Many items have not been displayed for over thirty years, including prints by Walter Sickert. A group of fifteenth century ceramics from south-east Asia will be on show for the first time in this exhibition.

There are over 100 objects on show in A Hard Choice, including paintings and drawings, taxidermied birds and animals, furniture, glass, pottery, a mousetrap, an eel spear and a Second World War bomb.

Or pick up a self-led gallery trail for A Hard Choice – available in Portsmouth Museum for 50p from Saturday 23rd May.

Community Collections Showcase
Visitors to A Hard Choice are also able to see highlights from three collections owned by Portsmouth residents.  The collections were chosen from the entries in a public competition and will be shown in turn in the Community Collections Showcase:

Now on!
Percy F Westerman (1876 - 1959)
21 July to 27 September

Books by the Portsmouth-born writer of adventure stories for children which demonstrate changing trends in book cover illustration.

Collections previously on show:

Back to the Future
31 March to 17 May 2015
A selection of screen-used and reproduction props and memorabilia from the 1985 film and its two sequels.

Royal Memorabilia Clocks and Watches 
19 May to 19 July 2015
Clocks and watches produced to commemorate events in the lives of the British royal family from the 1890s to the present day.

Latest News:

Magnifying Sherlock

A chance for you to turn detective in the Portsmouth Museum grounds and follow the trail of the ultimate sleuth, Sherlock Holmes, and his creator Arthur Conan Doyle, who lived and worked in Portsmouth. Stream this thrilling free experience as you follow in the footsteps of Sherlock on a navigational trail. Use your smartphone to stream the Magnifying Sherlock trail for free, or hire out an iPod from the Portsmouth Museum reception desk with the trails pre-loaded.* Click here to follow the trail around Portsmouth Museum (first part of the trail), then take the adventure into the grounds of the museum here (second part of the adventure).

*If you borrow an iPod you will be required to show photo ID such as a drivers licence. This is an outdoors trail around the grounds of Portsmouth Museum, aimed at families, rather than a guided tour of the ‘A Study in Sherlock’ exhibition.

A Tale of One City
You can add pictures, memories and new entries of your own to Portsmouth’s new community history website to help build an online archive. What are you waiting for? Tell us your tales.

Past News - Visit this page for news of some of our past projects.

What's at Portsmouth Museum

Portsmouth Museum explores different facets of Portsmouth’s rich and varied history – from the everyday to moments when the city has played its role in national and international events.  The city’s art and design collections are showcased here. The museum provides an excellent introduction to the city for visitors and its inviting spaces and events programme are popular with residents.

The museum with its turrets and pointed roofs - reminiscent of a fairy-tale castle - is in fact a former barracks. Its formally laid out, south-facing garden is used in the summer for events. The museum is home to a new Visitor Information point which means visitors can find out about the city’s wider cultural offer as well as booking accommodation and tickets to the city’s other cultural venues and attractions.

Permanent Exhibitions  

No Place like Pompey 

What makes Portsmouth unique? Is it one particular place, the city’s geography, its past or its people?  This exhibition looks at some of the things that make "Pompey” special. This is the UK’s only island city, the city is ringed by forts both on land and in the sea and its history has been shaped by its relationship with the Royal Navy and Dockyard.  The exhibition explains many of the things you will notice as you explore the city and the visitor information staff at the museum will help plan your visit.

A Study in Sherlock: Uncovering the Arthur Conan Doyle Collection
This exhibition showcases the largest collection pertaining to Doyle and his creation Sherlock Holmes in the world.  The gallery explores Doyle’s early life as a doctor in Portsmouth, his sporting activity and later interest in spiritualism as well as Sherlock Holmes as depicted in film, theatre, advertising and elsewhere.  It includes a Sherlock Holmes mystery and a narration by Stephen Fry, patron of the collection.

Picture Gallery  
Take a trip to the Picture Gallery to see over 65 paintings, photographs and prints on the theme of 'journeys'.  All of the pictures on display are from the collections of Portsmouth Museums.  Click here to see all of the oil paintings held by the city on the Your Paintings website, produced as a result of the work of the Public Catalogue Foundation to catalogue all of the oil paintings held in public collections in the UK.

Other Galleries 
Other galleries explore the city’s relationship with football - especially Pompey’s FA Cup wins in 2008 and 1939 – the seaside at Southsea and Portsmouth homes from 1680 to 1960. The Fine and Decorative Art Gallery features our wide range of artwork from seventeenth century chairs to contemporary ceramics, from serene landscape paintings by the local Cole family of artists to vivid abstract paintings of the twentieth century.

Portsmouth City Museums



All pictures are copyright of Portsmouth Museums and Visitor Services

Portsmouth Records Office
Visit the Records Office site
Visit the Natural History Museum Site
Visit the D-day museum site
Visit the Charles Dickens Birthplace site
Visit the Southsea Castle site
Visit the Portsmouth Museum Portal site


Looking at the 1950s living room

Fine and decorative art on display

Portsmouth at Play gallery

Museum shop