AFTER 500 years of twists and turns, a new chapter begins today in the life of one of the world’s most famous warships.
Once again the eyes of the nation will be on Portsmouth for the opening of the new Mary Rose Museum at the city’s historic dockyard.
The multimillion pound development shows the ship in a way she has never been seen before.
Thousands of artefacts have also gone on display for the first time.
The chief executive of the Mary Rose Trust, Rear-Admiral John Lippiett, told The News: ‘This marks an exceptionally major milestone in the history of the Mary Rose, but it’s not even the last chapter in the story.
‘People who have seen the museum already are saying it belongs in the top 10 museums in the world.
‘People don’t seem to be able to believe that the artefacts on display are original, they think they are replicas, but they are not. Everything on display is from the Mary Rose and it is remarkable.’
Visitors to the new museum have the experience of walking through the ship as it was moments before the sinking.
Artefacts have been rearranged on a specially-crafted deck to mirror the exact positions they were in before the tragedy.
Opposite that, is the historic hull of the Mary Rose.
Paul Griffiths is the operations manager of the new museum.
He said: ‘I really hope the people of Portsmouth come to see this museum.
‘This is about Portsmouth life.
‘She was built here, she sailed from here, many of the crew would have been from here, and she sank here.
‘These people are extremely proud of the city’s naval heritage, you can see that by how many people turn out to events like Ark Royal’s final departure.
‘There is a lot to come and see and I hope people take advantage of that.
‘We have got something to really rave about and we hope the people of Portsmouth feel proud of it too.’
The new museum boasts state-of-the-art facilities which show off as much of the Mary Rose Trust’s collection for artefacts as possible.
Bosses at the museum are hoping the museum will see 400,000 visitors in its first year.
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, the leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘I think it will do a great deal for the local economy because it is a world-class attraction.
‘We know eight per cent of jobs in Portsmouth are dependant on the visitor economy and now we have yet another fantastic major attraction in Portsmouth, which is a great thing for the city.
‘The Mary Rose Trust has done a really good job.’
People who want to see the museum are being urged to book a slot to avoid disappointment.
To avoid disappointed visitors having to be turned away because of queues, people are able to choose a guaranteed time to visit.
For more details and to buy tickets visit historicdockyard.co.uk/tickets.
There’s extensive coverage of the new Mary Rose Museum in The News today and tomorrow
And don’t miss our special supplement The Mary Rose, on sale from Friday for just £1.50