Mary Rose Museum



Key Partners

Mary Rose Trust
Land Design Studios

Photos © Mary Rose Trust

Below © DeZeen

A unique slice of history showcased in a stunning purpose-built museum at Portsmouth Historic Docks illustrates the fascinating world aboard King Henry VIII’s flagship, the Mary Rose, and the challenges of excavating, raising and preserving the ship along with its nearly 19,000 artefacts in the world’s largest underwater excavation and recovery project to date.

"The Mary Rose is the English Pompeii, preserved by water, not fire. All Tudor life is there; it is like stepping inside a Holbein painting."

- David Starkey, Historian

The story that transfixed the nation for decades - the discovery in 1971 of the Tudor warship Mary Rose on the sea bed and her subsequent excavation and dramatic recovery in 1982 - is played out in rich detail at a new museum in Portsmouth Historic Docks.

The vessel has finally been moved from its temporary conservation space to the new £35m heritage museum along with nearly 19,000 artefacts recovered with the ship. Now undergoing the final phase in a complex process of preservation, the hull can be viewed for the next four years in a hotbox chamber which will dry all water from her timbers, after which she will be revealed in full within the museum.

Mirror-image galleries show in great detail what life was like aboard the vessel just before she sank in 1545, exhibiting an unparalleled selection of artefacts ranging from ship’s utensils and personal possessions to in-tact skeletons of the crew - some recreated using modern techniques for identifying murder victims - giving a rich insight into the personal stories of some of the 500 crew on board.

Sysco worked with Land Design Studios from the design development stage of the project, developing ideas for each exhibit and an infrastructure strategy to cope with the lack of space for centralised control rooms. AV equipment had to be very carefully integrated within custom built, environmentally controlled showcases.

The design and installation also had to accommodate future changes that will occur when the hotbox chamber is stripped out of the building after the drying process is complete, minimising any disruption caused to the exhibition.

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