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The Box, a £48m museum, is set to open soon in Plymouth

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The Box, a new £48m museum and cultural hub featuring replica models of a woolly mammoth and the Mayflower, is opening in Plymouth on September 29.

The opening of The Box, which is located at Tavistock Place in the city centre of Plymouth, was delayed by four months due to COVID-19.

The site contains approximately 1.5 million objects, including artefacts from the voyages of Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Francis Drake.

It also boasts a full-scale model of a woolly mammoth made with the same fur as Star Wars‘ Chewbacca, and a replica of the Mayflower.

Visitors will learn about the people who set sail from Plymouth, and will also encounter a cave lion skeleton and a bronze age bear pelt.

The Box opening delayed by COVID-19

The Box’s interim chief executive Paul Brookes told The Guardian: “We hope what we have ended up with is an eclectic range of galleries each with a different feel to it.

“Together we hope they give a greater understanding of Plymouth’s history and its future.”

The project combines three separate buildings, Plymouth’s former museum and art gallery, the central library and St Luke’s church.

The Box’s archive forms a central part of the attraction, which also includes Sir Francis Drake’s sword, Scott of the Antarctic’s skis and mittens, and Charles Darwin’s sextant.

One temporary commemorative exhibition called ‘Mayflower 400: Legend & Legacy’ focuses on the ship’s voyage and the impact of its arrival on the indigenous Wampanoag people.

“Built as a love-letter to the people of Plymouth”

Jo Loosemore, who co-curated the exhibition with members of the Wampanoag, said: “From the start we knew this was a shared story, a shared history.”

Tudor Evans, the city council leader, said: “It feels like a long time coming but the Box is a vital part of our recovery programme.

“Plymouth is a place from which so many significant voyages set sail,” added Evans. “We don’t flinch from telling the uncomfortable stories.”

“This place is built as a love-letter to the people of Plymouth, as much as anything else, their stories, their history, their memories – and that’s important because we’ve never really done that as fully as we could,” Evans told Plymouth Live.

“But also, we’ve got all this great stuff! We’ve got world-class objects here, we’ve got world-class stories here.”

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Bea Mitchell

A journalist specialising in entertainment and attractions, Bea loves theme parks (mainly Disney) and is particularly interested in things of a gothic, horror or fantasy nature.

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