THE National Museum of the Royal Navy has scooped a £1.4m lottery grant.
The museum at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard said today’s cash boost from the Heritage Lottery Fund means curators have now raised £3.2m out of the £4.5m they need for the one-of-a-kind attraction focusing on the Royal Navy since 1900.
The latest heritage project comes as Portsmouth’s HMS Victory is undergoing a 10-year £20m renovation and the Mary Rose is being moved into a new £21m museum.
The £1.4m grant will be used to restore the 18th century-built Storehouse 10 to house the new exhibitions.
‘There is no time to lose,’ said the museum’s director-general Dr Dominic Tweddle, who wants to raise the outstanding £1.3m to open the new attraction by 2014 – the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.
He added: ‘Despite the remarkable achievements of the men and women of the senior service over the past 100 years, there is no single exhibition in this country that tells their story.
‘We can now put that right – and do so here in Portsmouth, the home of the navy.’
The museum’s project director Matthew Sheldon said the new project will have a strong focus on the stories of sailors who lived through the last century.
He said: ‘The navy has faced unprecedented changes and challenges since 1900.
‘We want these exhibitions to convey this through the real things and the real voices of the men and women who lived, worked and fought to create this history.
‘The new galleries will feature amazing stories of how past generations faced these challenges and also look forward to what the navy faces now and might face in the future.’
Stuart McLeod, the head of Heritage Lottery Fund for the South East said the grant will help boost tourism further in Portsmouth.
He added: ‘This project has the potential to entertain, intrigue and delight.
‘Maritime and particularly naval heritage in the 20th and 21st centuries is currently under-represented in our museums, and this award to the NMRN in Portsmouth will help to address that.’