New Image Released Of Mary Rose Museum

The Mary Rose Trust and internal architects Pringle Brandon have released a new illustration of how the new Mary Rose Museum at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard will look when it opens to public in Autumn 2012.

The ship hull is about to enter the final phase of conservation as the sprays are turned off later this year and visitors will have a unique look into the complexities of preserving this fascinating Tudor Warship when she is back on display next year.

The 17-years treatment to conserve the ship’s timbers by spraying with polyethylene glycol comes to an end this year, but it will still take another five years for the ship to dry out. Head of Conservation at the Trust, Professor Mark Jones said,

“Our visitors in 2012 will be able to see this final phase of conservation by looking into a hotbox and seeing both the ship and the process for removing the 100 tons of water the timbers now contain.

"This should all be gone by 2016, when we can take away the hotbox and reveal the ship completely.

"But even when she is fully dried out, the building’s temperature, light and humidity will be very carefully controlled to ensure that all the artefacts are preserved in perpetuity”.

The new image shows the Mary Rose hull in her ‘hotbox’ with ducting running throughout. There will be windows through which visitors can view the hull until 2016, when the hull can then be viewed in her entirety.

2012 will mark thirty years after the entire nation was glued to televisions watching the wreck of the Tudor warship break the surface of the Solent, and will be when the Mary Rose Trust will open a new museum, bringing the hull and most of the 19,000 artefacts that were raised with her together once again.

Many will have visited the Mary Rose in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard*. The current museum near the dockyard entrance displays a fraction of the artefacts raised with the ship while, some distance away, beyond the stern of HMS Victory, the timbers of the ship could be seen through a mist of spray.

This is already changing. The museum remains open but the Ship Hall is now closed and work has started on enveloping it in a brand new museum to open in Autumn 2012.

John Lippiett, Chief Executive of the Mary Rose Trust, said:

“It is a huge challenge to build safely not only over a unique 450 year old structure but also on a site which is itself a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

"But we have a team combining some of the best architectural, engineering and construction practices in the world and for us they have developed a scheme which managed to be both stunning and subtle.

"It is hugely sympathetic to its dockyard surroundings and at the same time highly practical for our unique needs”.

The building has been designed by Wilkinson Eyre, a prolific firm but probably best known for the Millennium Bridge, crossing the Tyne between Gateshead and Newcastle.

For the Mary Rose, they have designed an elliptical ‘jewel box’, placing the hull at the centre with galleries running the length of the ship, each at a level corresponding to the deck levels on the ship.

Artefacts will be set out in these galleries, designed by the architect and maritime archaeologist Chris Brandon, so that the visitor can see what the decks would have looked like moments before the ship sank.

There will also be six galleries arranged by theme to help tell the personal stories and working life of the crew on-board.

Warings, a member of the international construction and services group Bouygues, is delivering the construction phase of the £35 million project for the Mary Rose Trust.

Philippe Jouy, Warings Managing Director, added;

“This is a project which will pose some unique challenges for our dedicated team.

"Not least is the immense care required to build a modern museum around the precious timbers of the ship as the final stages of its conservation continues.

"We are well-equipped with the necessary skills and expertise and are proud to be leading this landmark development to protect and preserve a British historic icon."

The museum will represent the very best in 21st century architecture and construction, providing a beautiful and secure environment for the finest collection of 16th century artefacts in the world.”

The existing Mary Rose Museum remains open during construction to offer an amazing visitor experience with more than 1,000 of the finest conserved artefacts recovered from the site.

The Mary Rose is the only 16th century warship on display anywhere in the world. Launched in 1511, she was one of the first ships able to fire a broadside, and was a favourite of King Henry VIII.

After a long and successful career, she sank during an engagement with a French fleet in 1545. Her rediscovery and raising were seminal events in the history of maritime archaeology.

A dedicated Mary Rose museum in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, remains open while the ship hall housing the preserved wreck is temporarily closed during construction of the new Mary Rose Museum.

The artefacts discovered with the ship remain on display and new exhibits, including Hatch, the ship’s dog, are being introduced.

The new Mary Rose Museum will, for the first time since her sinking, re-unite the ship and her contents, fully preserved and presented in a time capsule of Tudor life at sea.