A Year at the Mary Rose Museum
A review of 2014 by our blogger, Simon. All opinions are his, and don’t necessarily reflect those of the Mary Rose Trust.
January was a quiet one, not much happening other than our Chief Executive and Head of Conservation receiving a CBE and MBE respectively in the New Years Honours, but as we covered that in last year’s review, let’s skip on to February –
February was a bit busier, although to start with it became very quiet when he had to close due to the strong winds that were battering the south coast. The museum was undamaged, but the journey up to us was less than safe. In the latter half of the month, we had a special visit from the president of the Mary Rose Trust; HRH the Prince of Wales and HRH the Duchess of Cornwall. This was his first visit to the new museum, and he seemed to enjoy it.
March saw us host our first theatrical performance, “War Games”, by local playwright Stuart Olesker. Also this month, the Education and Events teams went out on the road, Events displaying at Confex, the big events show at Olympia (and to the lady who asked if we did sailings, the answer is still no), while Education went to the Big Bang science show.
It was also a big month for awards, not only did we win TWO Civic Trust awards, but we also won the Lighting Design awards, which, considering how many people comment on how dark our museum is, gave us great pleasure! (Incidentally, there are a few reasons why lighting levels are what they are, low light helps protect the artefacts from damage by UV light, it reduces the number of reflections you get off the glass, and it helps to give you the idea of what it was like on the ship!)
March also saw #MuseumWeek on Twitter, a chance for us to show the world what happens in a museum. Our ‘typical’ day in the life ended up being very busy, featuring a ‘Women in Science’ event in the classroom, Skype interviews with Al Jazeera and tours for local hospice volunteers, as well as all the usual visitors. We null, so feel free to read through and learn a bit more.
April saw the unveiling of a bronze bust of Alexander McKee, the amateur diver whose fascination with the Mary Rose started the project that would lead t the raising and display of Henry VIII’s warship. The unveiling took place in our Admiral’s gallery, but he’s now taken his place in the gallery of our museum that bears his name, where the search, and salvage stories are told, as well as a display of his diary, showing the day the first timbers were uncovered. His diary is also featured in our Top Trumps, making McKee the only person other than Henry VIII to be referred to by name in the pack. Not included in the pack is our Super Top Trump, which we gave away during the school holidays, and has now started to fetch ridiculous amounts on eBay. Finally, we learnt in April that we were finalists in the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2014! We were one of 6 finalists, and were very excited. Did we win? You’ll have to find out… (Spoilers – we didn’t.)
May was another bumper month for awards, with us picking up gongs at the Building Awards, the RICS Awards and two at the Museum and Heritage Awards. We also celebrated our 1st anniversary in the new museum, with a cake brought in by our chums at Mind Works, and after the visitors had gone we had an amazing party. Seriously, our events team know how to throw a party! But the big story of the month turned out to be a bit less expected, when our nullarrived. Since then we’ve sold over 2,000 of the little beggars, and they’ve travelled all over the world, from the canals of Venice to the volcanoes of Gran Canaria.
June saw us welcoming two very special groups of people. Firstly, there were the Art Fund Judges, coming to have a look round before making their final judgement, but more importantly there was Per Ruottinem, Annika Wijk and their children Klas and Maja Wijk, who became our 500,000th visitors! They got an exclusive tour with our Chief Executive, including our reserve collection, and had a bottle of bubbly on the Bridge balcony overlooking HMS Victory!
There was probably more that happened this month, but I was busy getting married! I returned on July, and the adventures continued…
NEXT TIME IN A YEAR AT THE MARY ROSE MUSEUM…
IT’S A BOY!