Students in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences can access archives and museums for research and study.

Courses using our primary materials and museum connections include BA History, MA Naval History, MA Victorian Gothic and MRes Humanities and Social Science.

HMS warship in Portsmouth historic dockyard

HMS Warrior at Portsmouth Dockyard

Mary Rose shipwreck museum

Mary Rose shipwreck

View of d-day statue "Embracing peace"

D-Day statue "Embracing Peace"

Local museums include:

  • The National Museum of the Royal Navy charts how the 'Senior Service' helped shape the modern world through stories of courage and determination, enterprise and endeavour, heroism and sacrifice
  • HMS Warrior museum ship dedicated to Britain's first iron-hulled, armoured battleship, which was launched in 1860 and was once the largest and fastest of all Royal Navy ships
  • The Mary Rose Museum Portsmouth's top visitor attraction, which was once Henry VIII's warship. Lost in 1545, it was recovered in 1982 and is now on display along with its contents.
  • The D-Day Story the story of Operation Overlord and how ordinary people worked together to achieve an extraordinary outcome

Other available collections and archives

  • State Papers Online – a huge archive of official source material on 16th-18th Century Britain. The University Library provides access to the government papers from both the Domestic and Foreign Series in the National Archives and more, including naval material for students on our MA in Naval History.
  • Chinese Historical Newspapers – providing coverage of English language newspaper content from China (1830s -1950s).
  • Migration to the New World – discover the experience of people moving from Britain, Europe and Asia to the New World, from their motivations for moving to the experience of the journey itself.
  • Popular Culture in Britain and America – explore a wealth of primary documents, including fanzines, photos and newsreel footage to help understand a period when consumer culture and pop music took off and protest movements were big news.
  • Bloomsbury Cultural History offering access to this series of secondary sources as well primary sources from a number of institutions. Themes covered include childhood and family, food, women, dress, fashion and theatre,
  • House of Commons Parliamentary Papers 1688-2005 one of the most detailed primary sources for the history of Britain and its former colonies.
  • Oxford Handbooks Online from witchcraft to genocide and nationalism to the end of empire, chapters review key issues and indicate how debates might evolve

There's also an opportunity to use 3 key war archives:

  • Mass Observation Online gives you unique access to texts, photographs and eye-witness reports of post-blitz Britain and beyond
  • Women, War and Society is a First World War collection from the Imperial War Museum, featuring press cuttings, minutes and correspondence
  • Churchill Archive - a digital library including more than 800,000 pages of original documents, ranging from personal correspondence to official exchanges with kings, presidents, politicians, and military leaders

If you're interested in finding out more about the history of the University of Portsmouth – and its predecessors, including the Portsmouth College of Technology (1953-1969) – access can be booked via the University Library where the collection is housed.

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