Founded by Dr Marie Stopes, the famous birth control pioneer, Portland Museum opened in 1930. It is housed in two picturesque thatched Portland Stone cottages, nestling above Church Ope Cove. Inspired by one of these cottages, Wessex author, Thomas Hardy, made it the home of Avice, the heroine in "The Wellbeloved", one of his last novels.
The collection in this accredited Museum is built around four distinct "themes" that represent all that Portland is famous for: Sea, Stone, Archaeology and famous people connected with the Island. Everything featured in the Museum tells the story of Portland's long and diverse history, in a small and intimate setting. We call the Museum "The Treasure on the Island". See if you agree!
Tel: 01305 821804
If travelling by road, join the A354 and follow it to Portland. Stay on this road until you see the brown signs for Portland Museum.
If travelling by bus from Weymouth, catch the No.1 from the back of Debenhams. Get off the bus at Easton Square Gardens and follow the Straits until the road leads into Wakeham. You will find Portland Museum at the end of the road, about a quarter of a mile walk.
There is no railway on Portland. If arriving by train in Weymouth, get off the train, and follow the bus directions to Portland Museum.
All Dates - Open from 11.00 am to 4.30 pm
Marie Stopes Cottage features a small exhibition about the founder of the Museum, Dr Marie Stopes, and a display of items connected to Thomas Hardy, the Dorset author and poet. We also have a "Victorian Corner" displaying the wedding dress of a local Portland girl, and objects that would have been found in a Victorian parlour.
The Maritime Room has an array of interesting artefacts, including items recovered from the wrecks of 'The Earl of Abergavenny' and 'The Royal Adelaide', both lost in local waters. There are references to the Navy on Portland and also a fascinating Cabinet of Curiosities.
The Stone Room tells the story of Portland Stone, from its quarrying and production to its use on buildings all over the world, and war graves, and the story of the 'Men of Stone', who worked in the quarries and masonry yards on the Island. From Easter 2011 we hope to have on display a 145 million year old fossilised turtle, found in a local quarry.
The Portland Gallery contains a collection of archaeological finds from Island excavations, an exhibition about Portland prisons and a cabinet displaying local glass and china items from times past.
The Garden is the ideal place to sit and enjoy a picnic, or refreshments, snacks and ice cream available from the Museum shop. The garden has a collection of local fossils, ammonites, fossilised trees and local masonry and artefacts, and the casing of the famous Portland Bomb. Plants grown on the Island will be for sale in the garden, and our Museum shop has a good selection of stock to appeal to the whole family - a souvenir of your visit, or a gift to take home, perhaps.
We offer project sessions for local schools, tied in to the National Curriculum Key Stages. These take place mainly in the winter months and can be booked by contacting the Museum Co-ordinator on 01305 821804. We hope to take items from the collection out to schools for outreach sessions in the future.