The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) has announced support worth £13.85million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) with an award that will transform access to naval heritage and allow for the moving of the Royal Marines Museum from its home in the old barracks at Eastney into Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
The project, entitled SeaMore, will create the country’s newest national museum collection in an innovative Centre for Discovery at the NMRN’s base in Portsmouth. Over two million artefacts, currently kept in 30 separate stores within 14 buildings across nine sites, will be relocated and made accessible to visitors in a bold move to revolutionise the way the epic story of the Royal Navy is told. Many of these items, which include everything from unique documents, photographs, medals, paintings and archaeology are currently at risk in buildings and stores not fit for purpose. The Centre for Discovery will not only provide a safe haven for these collections but will be available daily to view and access in a way not previously possible.
The Royal Marines Museum will move into Boathouse 6, the Grade II Victorian boathouse that currently houses Action Stations to create dynamic galleries, activities and personal stories of the unique ethos of the Royal Marines 350-year history. The museum will be a living memorial to the loyalty, duty and sacrifices of the Corps and very importantly entirely accessible to those who have been injured or incapacitated in the line of duty. It is due to open in 2019.
Sir Peter Luff, Chairman of the Heritage Lottery Fund said:
“We loved the National Museum of the Royal Navy’s plans to tell the very human story of the Royal Navy. It’s a compelling one of highs and lows, of triumphs and failures. The Centre for Discovery will provide a new, spacious venue to relate this narrative while the relocation of the Royal Marines Museum will give it a more prominent home and increased visitor numbers. Having already invested £55m in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, we are confident this latest award of National Lottery money will enable the dockyard to build on its reputation as one of the South East’s most popular heritage destinations.”
Professor Dominic Tweddle, Director General of The National Museum of the Royal Navy, warmly welcomed the announcement:
“This is an amazing achievement by the NMRN to boost the visitor offer substantially in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard with a new museum that will not only increase numbers but give visitors a chance to find out and see so much more.
The story of the Royal Marines, their unique ethos and remarkable history as an integral part of the Naval Service will be told to many more visitors. The Centre for Discovery will genuinely transform the way we can tell the story of the Royal Navy securing desperately lacking public access to the newest national collection. This will unite our collections which are dispersed and at risk across the country but most importantly, it will deepen and enrich our visitors’ experience of our collection. The Heritage Lottery Fund has had the vision and foresight to support this internationally important project for which we are very grateful. ”
The HLF grant also includes development funding of £548,726. The overall cost of the project is £17.5 million and
a fundraising appeal to raise an additional £2.5 million is now underway and has already received generous support from the Royal Marines family and its charities. To find out more about the fundraising appeal, contact Paul Elgood at the appeals office on 02392 728064 or [email protected]
A report into the Economic Impact Assessment of SeaMore by the University of Portsmouth estimates that the project will initially generate over £26 million into the regional economy and will increase visitor numbers into the Historic Dockyard by 7-8%. The site currently welcomes 750,000 every year and has published its aim to raise this to 1 million within the next ten years.
The fate of the famous statue and local landmark at the entrance of the museum is to be decided.