Over 400 years after the sinking of King Henry VIII’s warship, the Mary Rose, a new £27 million museum will open to the public on 31 May.
Constructed around the Tudor ship which was raised from the seabed in 1982, the new museum at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard will take visitors back to 1545 with thousands of artefacts including wooden eating bowls, leather shoes, musical instruments, longbows and two tonne guns.
When the Mary Rose sank only 35 of the 500 strong crew survived. Through forensic science visitors will be able to appreciate details from the lives of the Tudor crew including the skeleton of an archer with evidence of the repetitive strain of pulling huge longbows, the remains of ‘Hatch’ the ship’s dog and even nit combs complete with 500-year-old lice.
The current £35 million conservation project which includes the construction of the museum is still ongoing. The new museum has been built around the hull of the ship with the hull at its centre and galleries corresponding to a deck level on the ship. The building’s design creates a carefully controlled environment to protect the ship’s hull which is in the final phase of conservation. Visitors can see the hull through windows but the internal walls will not be removed until the drying of the hull is complete in 4 to 5 years.
Historian Dan Snow, and ambassador for the new Museum, said, “The story of the Mary Rose has fascinated people for generations. This tremendous new Museum housing together for the first time the hull of the ship and its many treasured artefacts will give us a sense of what life was like on aboard a Tudor ship like never before, helping to preserve the history of the Mary Rose for generations to come.”