Dickens Community Archive

The Portsmouth Museums and Records Service encouraged local community groups to explore their family, community and local history. 

The project coincided with the celebrations for the birth of Portsmouth’s famous literary son, Charles Dickens. Volunteers gained new skills, by learning how to access and use the archives. The project also removed barriers to potential visitors, who were unaware of the wealth of material in local collections. They achieved this by:

  • Engaging hard to reach local audiences
  • Encouraging and assisting people to use the city’s archives
  • Encouraging active participation with the City’s museums and archives
  • Increasing awareness of Portsmouth as a cultural, historical and literary destination

Local community groups used some of the key themes in Dickens’ novels – poverty, childhood, crime and punishment – to explore local or community history. The project involved a variety of activities including researching the archives, creating displays for exhibition, collecting and sharing local and community history and other creative tasks. Community groups were also encouraged and supported to come up with their own ideas. Find out more on the Dickens Community Archive project webpage.

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