Tuesday, 22 September 2009

The Mary Rose – The Oldest Ship in the Dockyard!

Hello! My name is Simon Clabby, and I’m going to be writing for this blog on behalf of the Mary Rose Museum!

Officially my job at the Mary Rose is Museum Host, dealing with admissions and general enquiries, but I also do costumed interpretation and trail design. I am also involved quite heavily with the Mary Rose 500 appeal (www.maryrose500.org), and set up the 500 appeals Facebook page (www.facebook.com/MaryRose500), Twitter feed (www.twitter.com/MaryRose500) and the flickr gallery (http://www.flickr.com/photos/maryrose500/). Oh, and did I mention I also have two degrees in Palaeobiology?

The Mary Rose, for those of you who don’t know, was the favourite ship of King Henry VIII, who ruled England from 1509 until 1547. She was launched in the summer of 1511, and contrary to popular belief had a highly successful career spanning 34 years, before sinking in a freak accident whilst repelling a French invasion fleet in 1545.

She’s probably most famous, however, for being lifted from her resting place in 1982, when 60 million people from around the world saw the large yellow lifting cradle emerge from the depths, the remains of the Mary Rose nestled within. She was put on public display the following year in the ship hall, and the museum, containing some of the artefacts found alongside the hull, opened in 1985.

The Mary Rose Ship Hall has now closed its doors temporarily, so work can begin on a brand new museum, which will reunite the ship and her artefacts for the first time in 30 years. Due to open in 2012, the new museum will have a reconstruction of the ship alongside the real hull, with artefacts on display where they were originally found. At the moment we have 6% of the collection on display, so to have 70% on display in the new museum is a significant leap and it is exciting to think how there will be much more on offer to show visitors.

Along with the 500th anniversary of the ship’s construction, it’s a truly amazing time to be working at the Mary Rose, and we’re all looking forward to 2012!

The current museum will remain open though, and will be bringing to you many activities and events, which will ensure that you enjoy your visit!

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