Information for Schools

There is a lot to see and do on your visit to Portsmouth 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.

Wonder Boxes - the new-look loans collection from Portsmouth Museums

The first phase of our review of the Museum Loans Collection is complete and the first batch loan items, rebranded as Wonder Boxes, are available for use.

Our fabulous loans boxes are the perfect stimulus for creative work across the curriculum, including science, art & design, literacy and history.  Bring a little awe and wonder into your classroom with bird, mammal, amphibian and reptile specimens or skulls and skeletons.  Or bring the past to life with high quality model dinosaurs and original and replica artefacts illustrating life in Ancient Egypt.

Click here to download the latest edition of the illustrated Wonder Box Catalogue.

The catalogue lists all of the loans boxes currently available and explains how to book a box and the Terms and Conditions under which the loans scheme operates.  New boxes will be added to the catalogue as the review process continues.

Talking Pictures workshop or CPD session

Portsmouth Museum houses changing displays from the city's art collections. Find out how to use questions to bring paintings to life and reveal the stories they can tell with our Talking Pictures session. A great way to introduce children to looking at art. Sessions last around 45 minutes and are adaptable for KS1 or KS2.  Also available as a CPD session for teachers exploring art as a resource for literacy. For details please contact Learning Officer Tracy Teasdale - 

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 Portsmouth Museum complement this session perfectly.

Age Suitable for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2
Venue Portsmouth Museum
Times The workshop lasts one hour. Earliest start time 10.15am.                                    
Dates Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays on request, subject to availability of staff and Activities Room.  Minimum of three weeks’ notice required.

Note: this workshop is not available the weeks beginning 6th and 13th November 2017.
Cost £2 per pupil + VAT for all schools.
Minimum charge per workshop: £40 + VAT
Numbers 30 pupils maximum per workshop.

Groups can enjoy self-guided visits to related museum displays before or after their workshop.

The Home Front Experience

Find out what life was like for families during the Second World War in this lively, interactive session.

  • Investigate original artefacts and documents including gas masks, items used by Air Raid Wardens, clothing and domestic objects
  • Explore the different roles people played on the home front
  • Learn about rationing and evacuation
  • Use role play to simulate an air raid and find out how people prepared for them.

The session looks at many aspects of life on the home front and is perfect for groups starting and finishing thier work on the topic. Sessions can be adapted for groups with additional needs.
The Home Front isusually delivered at the D-Day Museum but is relocating to Portsmouth Museum whilst D-Day is being redeveloped.

Groups can enjoy self-guided visits to related museum displays before or after their workshop. 

Age        Suitable for Key Stages 1 & 2

Venue     Portsmouth Museum

Times    10.15am, 11.30am & 1.00pm. Sessions last one hour.

Dates     2018: February 20, 21, 22 & 23

Cost       £3.00 per pupil + VAT for all schools.
              Minimum charge per workshop £40 + VAT.
              Price includes admission to the museum.

Booking a Group Visit

For all enquiries, sessions and group visits please telephone our admin team on 023 9283 4744 / 4737 (Monday - Friday) 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.


Discover the history of the city and its people at Portsmouth Museum:

  • Stroll through historic room settings including a 19th century dockyard worker's kitchen, a 1930s kitchen, an art deco dining room and a 1950s living room. 
  • Find out what makes the city unique in No Place like Pompey
  • Explore seaside holidays, leisure and entertainment in Portsmouth at Play and the football gallery. 
  • Enjoy changing displays from the city's art, craft and design collections.
  • Learn about Arthur Conan Doyle's life as a doctor in Portsmouth and the creation of his most famous character, Sherlock Holmes.  

National Curriculum Links – a broad and balanced approach

Portsmouth Museum is a rich and versatile resource for creative work across the curriculum including English, Art & Design, history, Design & Technology, mathematics and geography. To discuss your ideas or book a pre-visit contact Learning Officer Tracy Teasdale on or 02392 834752.

We look forward to welcoming you to Portsmouth Museum soon.