Please click on the orange icons on the right of this page to see the websites about each of our individual museums.
Information for Schools
There is a lot to see and do on your visit to the City Museum. Please see further down the page for information on the exhibitions. However, to make the most of your visit you may wish to book one of our Toys & Games from the Past workshops, details below.
Toys, Games and Pastimes Workshop
Delivered by a member of the museum learning team, this fun, hands on session enables children to investigate and play with a range of toys and games from the past including vehicles, moving toys and board games. Taking on the role of Toy Detectives, children will explore materials, mechanisms, graphics and packaging to compare old and new and put the toys in chronological order.
The historical room settings, Portsmouth at Play and Study in Sherlock displays in City Museum complement this session perfectly.
Booking a Group Visit
For all enquiries, sessions and group visits please telephone 023 9283 4744 / 4737 and ask for the admin team or email us stating clearly your name, school contact details, number/age of children, which museum/exhibition/workshop you are interested in and your preferred dates/times.
Length of Stay and Group Sizes
Unless you have booked a led session the typical visit time by a group is 1 - 1½ hours. The recommended maximum number arriving at any one time should not exceed 60 pupils. A teacher/pupil ratio of at least 1:15 is essential. (When school groups are in the museum, the behaviour of the children or students is the responsibility of the teacher in charge). When visiting 'Story of Portsmouth', 'Portsmouth at Play' or temporary exhibitions, it is advisable to split into smaller groups of 15/20 within the galleries to avoid overcrowding.
Free admission for self-led visits, groups must book in advance. Please see above for workshop charges. Cheques payable to 'Portsmouth City Council', Credit cards: MasterCard or Visa.
The main feature of the museum is 'The Story of Portsmouth', shown in four galleries. The first gallery provides the visitor with an introduction to the history of Portsmouth, including an audio-visual show.
On the first floor the galleries are thematic. The 'Portsmouth Picture Gallery' displays the current exhibition of Portsmouth pictures, paintings and postcards showing scenes of bygone Portsmouth. The 'Living in Portsmouth' gallery tells the story of life in the home from the 16th century to the 1950s. This includes a 17th century bedchamber, an 1871 dockyard worker's kitchen, a splendid Victorian parlour, a 1930's kitchen and a 1950's living room. Most of the rooms incorporate sound effects and/or figures. 'No place like Pompey' is a fascinating new exhibition that looks at the question, ‘What makes Portsmouth unique? Is it one particular place, the city’s geography, its past or its people? It includes the fact that most of Portsmouth lies on an island, the city’s links with the dockyard and the Royal Navy, and the fortifications that made Portsmouth one of the most heavily defended areas in the country.
The 'Portsmouth at Play' gallery covers the development of Southsea as a seaside resort, theatres, cinemas, public houses, coffee bars (including 'Verrechias') and sport. Many of these themes are also shown on archive film.
In addition to these galleries there is a 'Fine and Decorative Art Gallery' with displays on furniture, decorative art, ceramics, glass and textiles and a 'Temporary Exhibition Gallery' with regularly changing displays.
National Curriculum Links – A Broad and Balanced Approach
The City Museum is suitable for a wide range of National Curriculum work. Here are some suggestions of ways in which you can link your visit to National Curriculum areas.
KS 2 - Victorian Britain
KS 2 - Britain since 1930
KS 2 - Local History
KS 3 - Britain 1750-1900
KS 3 - The 20th-century World
The History of Portsmouth. Chronology - a line through time from Anglo-Saxon settlers to the present day. 1500 - 1800 Defended City - the growth of the military presence in Portsmouth. Contrasts in Victorian times. Naval town and seaside resort. Changes in the 20th Century. "Home" through the ages - furniture, food, washing etc. Differences and similarities to modern day living. Amusements and pastimes.
KS 1 & KS 2 - Places
KS 2 - Settlements
Maps of the development of Portsmouth. Physical geography - the formation of chalk and Portsdown Hill. Effect on Portsmouth of changes in sea level. An Island City.
Texts about the exhibits, using a variety of genres: information, explanations, lists, recipes, fiction and playscripts. The History of Portsmouth.
KS1 & KS2 - Introduction to works by local artists past and present. Appreciation of the work of Artists and Craftspeople 2-D and 3-D. Developing the use of appropriate vocabulary. Landscape - Portrait. Various media and 'canvas'. Foreground - midground - background. Content - form - process - mood. Fine Art - materials, techniques.
I C T
Early electrical goods.
Science and Technology Materials.
Forces - Levers and the use of pulleys to lift weights (cooking pots). Cooking through the ages - appliances and utensils. Recipes from different times. Local wildlife.
Please book now
We look forward to welcoming you soon! Call us on 023 9283 4744 / 4737 to make a booking.