Collections & stories

From Charles Dickens’ personal artefacts to more than 10,000 fine and decorative art pieces (via a huge array of natural history specimens and a whole host of military history items), our collections tell the history of Portsmouth and its people. Items in our collections total hundreds of thousands, all belonging to Portsmouth City Council and maintained for the people of the city and all our visitors.

Our museum collections are split into specific categories, to allow us to more easily manage the great many items we maintain and preserve. Take a look through some of the collections below, and keep checking back for updates on when you can browse specific items on the website, to take a virtual walk through our museum artefacts from the comfort of your own home.

That’s not all, as many items within our collections have fascinating stories to tell. These can be anything from the provenance of an item to how it came into our possession, or simply an intriguing story from its past. Though these stories are too long to include in the museum displays, we’ve collated some of them across our various sites, so you can settle in and read up about the background of our most interesting buildings, artworks and objects. Head through to each museum site for the stories to read on items contained therein.

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A gramophone with a story to tell

  • A gramophone with a story to tell

    It’s a masterpiece from “the most neglected serious painter of her time”.