Digital Volunteers set to make big impact for Portland Museum due to National Lottery funding

Portland Museum has been awarded £59,014 of National Lottery funding to launch a digital volunteering initiative and break down barriers to heritage.

The funding is part of The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Digital Skills for Heritage initiative, which aims to raise digital skills and confidence across the whole UK heritage sector.

Seventeen projects have been awarded funding to create digital volunteering opportunities, supporting volunteers to develop and contribute their digital skills. Some opportunities will be offered online – removing barriers such as place, mobility, time commitments and confidence in returning to in-person activities due to the pandemic.

In turn, heritage organisations will gain the perspectives and skills of ‘at distance’ and on-site digital volunteers including many who may not have had the chance to volunteer before. The impact of the new volunteering opportunities and ways of working will be shared across the heritage sector.

Ros Kerslake, CEO at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Volunteers play a crucial role in supporting and sharing the UK’s heritage. Thanks to National Lottery players we are delighted to support these trailblazing projects, including ‘Diving into the digital archives of the Earl of Abergavenny’ as they create exciting new digital volunteering opportunities, helping to break down barriers and inspire the sector to get even more people involved in the heritage they love.”

The Earl of Abergavenny wreck site has been surveyed, excavated, artefacts conserved and documented by a volunteer group of amateur maritime archaeologists led by the late Ed Cumming. For this innovative project, Portland Museum is working in partnership with the Nautical Archaeology Society and MSDS Marine and will be appointing a dedicated Project Manager to lead this project. Portland Museum will welcome hearing from potential new volunteers who are interested in being trained before undertaking the digital recording of the Earl of Abergavenny artefacts.

Lucy Watkins, Portland Museum Manager said “The story of the sinking of the Earl of Abergavenny in 1805 is one of both great drama and significance to Portland Museum. The combination of its local site and tragic story makes the collection of finds we hold a popular one amongst visitors to the museum. With the help of National Lottery funding, we now have the opportunity to train and upskill local volunteers in exciting new, digital recording techniques. Creating a bespoke online site containing 3D images of finds from the wreck of the Earl of Abergavenny, Portland Museum will soon have the ability to share this exceptional story with audiences far and wide.”


Portland Museum is open every Wednesday and Thursday 10:30 am – 4:00 pm (last entry 3:30 pm) until December 9th and is free to Islanders!


If you would like to join our friendly team of volunteers, please contact our museum manager, Lucy, by phone or email.

Portland People


People are known to have lived on Portland since Neolithic times and over the centuries the island has hosted foreign invaders, pirates, military garrisons, convicts, sailors, itinerate workers and artists read more …

Maritime Portland

The museum houses a range of artefacts and information telling the story of Portland’s maritime history. Displays include items recovered from numerous wrecks read more …

Portland Stone


The museum’s stone exhibition, housed in “Avice’s” cottage, tells the story of the Portland stone industry, from quarrying and processing to its use in prestige buildings and memorials around the world read more …

Jurassic Portland


Portland sits proud and central on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast; a World Heritage site. The museum houses a fascinating collection of fossils dating back hundreds of millions of years read more …