After 34 years of conservation and preservation work, and six months of closure, the Mary Rose Museum have finally unveiled the first entirely unobstructed publicly-accessible views of Henry VIII’s beloved warship.
A press event was held today (Tuesday 19th July 2016) on the uppermost deck of the museum, where we had the chance to breathe the same air as the Mary Rose for the first time, entering onto the top floor through an airlock.
“This is a Tudor standard flag that’s been specifically produced for today,” Jacquie Shaw, PR Manager at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, told Team Locals Portsmouth. She was referring to a vast, 41-metre veil hung between the upper viewing gallery and the iconic hull itself.
In the midst of an atmospheric recorded narrative which echoed around the upper balcony, the vast veil was dropped to reveal the remarkable historic spectacle.
Then came a demonstration of the vignettes. 62 projectors have been set up in the Mary Rose Museum to cast 3D imagery onto the hull, showing what life and work was like aboard the ship and bringing the Mary Rose experience to life in an unprecedented way. The projections enrich the stories of hundreds of artefacts in the museum’s collection.
Floor-to-ceiling glass for unobstructed views
On the other decks, where once was a wall with a few small viewing windows now stands floor-to-ceiling glass, offering yet more unobstructed vantage points. Galleries at either end of the museum also offer lengthways views of the hull.
Helen Bonser-Wilton, Chief Executive of the Mary Rose Trust, said “The story of the Mary Rose spans almost 500 years and this is a very exciting close to the latest chapter in her history.
“From the 20th July visitors will have stunning panoramic views of the ship from all nine galleries. This is the culmination of decades of hard work by the Mary Rose team and we can’t wait to share this stunning new experience with everyone.”
Today’s ceremony marked the 471st anniversary of the Tudor ship’s sinking. Mary Rose was raised from the Solent in 1982 and was first sprayed with a mist of fresh chilled water and then with a water-soluble wax from 1994.
In April 2013, the Mary Rose entered a stage of controlled air-drying. The hull has reached a stable state within this drying process which now enables black drying ducts to be removed.
In May 2015, the museum became the only UK museum to receive a special commendation in the European Museum of the Year Awards, and in September 2015, they welcomed their 1millionth visitor.
Sir Peter Luff, Chair of Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “Quite simply, the Mary Rose is awe-inspiring. Over the years since her discovery, and her subsequent raising from the sea bed to her display in this wonderful museum, each chapter of her life has intrigued and thrilled in equal measure.
After decades of hard work, this final part of the conservation jigsaw brings the Mary Rose back into clear focus and spectacular context. To so many a huge debt of gratitude is owed, particularly to those whose vision, dedication, and skill have made this project a reality.”