Museum can look to the future with confidence

COMMENT: Pompey and the uni will make great partners

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I t was back at the end of May when the new Mary Rose Museum, centrepiece of Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard, finally opened its doors to the public.

But it was well worth the wait.

The setting, close to Nelson’s Victory and the ships of the modern Royal Navy, was perfect and the museum was immediately praised as world-class.

Now, just 18 weeks later, 250,000 people have already seen the impressive display of the hull of King Henry VIII’s ill-fated flagship and many of the artefacts found with her at the bottom of the Solent.

We’re delighted to report that such a landmark has been reached ahead of schedule.

The target at this stage was 175,000 and staff weren’t expecting to welcome their 250,000th visitor until Christmas-time.

People are flocking from home and abroad to experience what must now be regarded as one of this country’s finest museums, telling the story of the Mary Rose and the men who served in her in such a captivating and compelling way.

A lot of hard work has gone into this new interpretation and the creation of a striking building that allows the public to walk through the ship and get a real sense of what life must have been like in Tudor times.

A lot of money has been spent too.

But £27m seems like a price well worth paying as word continues to spread and people arrive in Portsmouth to queue up and see the museum for themselves.

Of course, all new attractions tend to enjoy a honeymoon period when novelty is the draw because everybody is seeing it for the first time.

As the people behind the Spinnaker Tower know, getting people to make repeat trips and keeping the visitor numbers up is much harder.

But we think everybody involved with the Mary Rose Museum can look forward to the future with confidence.

What they have done is set a benchmark for other museums and we are very proud to have such a fascinating piece of history in our midst.