A bid by Portland Museum to Arts Council England has resulted in an exciting award of
£27,600 to research and reveal the dramatic history, myths and legends of Church Ope
Working in partnership with b-side and help from the local community, the project will
lead to greater understanding of the original gateway to the island and enhance the
strong community ties built by both bodies. The result of the work will culminate in a
legacy for future islanders by improving the sustainability of the museum through
increasing footfall, improved interpretation, redesign of its website, and an exciting work
of art that will feature in b-side’s 2020 arts festival and beyond.
Vicky de Wit
Museums Advisor for Bournemouth, Dorset & Poole:
I’m delighted that Portland Museum have been awarded an arts council grant to grow and
diversify their community engagement programme. Both the museum and b-side festival
make an outstanding contribution to the cultural life of the island and this project will
provide the perfect platform for developing exciting new opportunities for participation,
collections development and creative interpretation.
The project will begin with a series of community workshops led by the very popular Bea
Moyes who headed the research into Portland Pathways, last year. Research by local
residents will lead to the production of a report which will be drawn upon to inspire a
number of imaginative activities including the design by the Island’s children of a donation
box to be made by Island community members.
Church Ope Cove is a place often forgotten for its central role in some of the most
dramatic and culturally relevant history in the country. The original landing of the first
recorded Viking invasion, the peaceful and serene atmosphere of the bay belies its bloody
and lawless past. At one time, the only landing point for shipping on the island, its many
tales of smuggling and pirates suffuse the local folklore.
We look forward to working with all members of the community to explore, reveal and
disclose this vital part of the island’s history.
If you are interested in joining the research group do get in touch: