THE Mary Rose Museum has celebrated another major milestone as more than half a million visitors have now passed through its doors.
The Routtinen family from Sweden – Per Routtinen and Annika Wijk and their children Klas and Maja – walked in at lunchtime yesterday and were stunned to find they had broken the museum’s 500,000 mark.
It follows a year of solid success for Portsmouth’s world-class attraction.
The holidaying family were given a welcome by the museum’s staff and a guided tour by Mary Rose Trust chief executive John Lippiett.
They received gifts and shared a drink with the Mary Rose team.
Mr Routttinen, a computer programmer from Stockholm, said he was surprised at the attention they had received.
He said: ‘I saw it on television this morning that they would have half a million visitors.
‘I’ve always been interested in history since I was a little child, so this is a fantasy in real life.
‘We’re interested in old ships, and in Stockholm, we have the Vasa Museum. That’s another museum with a ship.’
Mr Lippiett said the museum exceeded all expectations since it opened last May.
He said welcoming the 500,000th visitor was a momentous occasion.
‘It’s thrilling, not only for us at the dockyard, but for Portsmouth and region,’ he said.
‘We’ve had an overwhelming response from people and, not wishing to brag, but we think we’re hitting the right spot.’
Mr Lippiett said among the museum’s first half-million visitors were more than 36,000 children in school groups.
The list of honours the Mary Rose Museum has amassed continues to grow.
The museum has just been awarded a Royal Institute of British Architects award for architectural excellence.