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Museums: Portsmouth Historic Dockyard to Revolutionise Visitor Experience


Portsmouth Historic Dockyard has engaged Forrec and A Different View to create a master plan for this complex heritage attraction. Home to the National Museum of the Royal Navy and HMS Victory, The Mary Rose Trust and HMS national museum royal navy portsmouth historic dockyardWarrior, plus the interactive Action Stations and Harbour Tours, the Historic Dockyard is looking to revolutionise its visitor experience over the next five years.

Toronto-based Forrec, internationally renowned for master planning and entertainment design, with clients including Universal Studios and LEGOLAND, is partnering with visitor experience consultancy A Different View, who are based in the UK and USA.

Forrec, in partnership with A Different View, have been hired to develop a visitor experience master plan incorporating an analysis of the existing visitor experience, as it relates to target markets, recommendations for additional attractions and events, improvements to the visitor experience, a site-wide interpretation plan, and revenue and business performance analysis.

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard recognises that the authority and authenticity of what they offer is world-class, but is not currently perceived as a family day out. In order to broaden the appeal beyond the current core audience of naval and heritage enthusiasts, the visitor experience will be greatly enhanced, to become more engaging, more interactive, more personal and more exciting than it is at present. Over the next few years, ground-breaking developments already in progress will improve the experience, not least with the opening of the eagerly awaited Mary Rose Museum and completion of the conservation at a cost of £35m.

Lincoln Clarke, Chief Executive of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard commented: “We are delighted at the appointment of Forrec and A Different View and eagerly await the outcome of the master-planning process in order that we can get on and start delivering. This is a very exciting time for the Historic Dockyard what with the new, world class Mary Rose museum about to launch and the development of the Babcock Galleries at The National Museum of the Royal Navy, which will tell the stories of the men and women who have made the Royal Navy‘s history over the last hundred years.”

Forrec’s director of museum projects Matt Dawson said: “We are excited to be working with the Historic Dockyard on this important heritage project. The client recognises that some of the critical issues involve improved orientation, the choreographing of visitor movement, and creating a sense of place – design issues that Forrec is qualified to address, due to our background in theme park and leisure environment planning.”

Forrec has teamed up with A Different View to offer the client skills beyond master planning. A Different View will look at experience mapping, business performance analysis and co-creation with staff and visitors.

A Different View’s UK director Rosalind Johnson said, “Having worked with the client for the last twelve months on strategic planning, we’re thrilled to take on this next important step with Forrec, The client is particularly ambitious and the excitement around the place is palpable.”

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