THESE are the first images of what the inside of the new multi-million pound Royal Marines Museum will look like when it opens in two years.
Released exclusively to The News, the designs show one of the £18m facility’s star attractions – a helicopter dangling from the ceiling.
The two-storey heritage site, set to open in the former Action Stations hub, inside the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, will also feature a host of exciting displays.
Landing crafts used by Commandos in daring raids will be among the sights, as well as huge images of the Royal Navy’s elite troops in action.
John Rawlinson, director of visitor experience for The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN), said the new facility would be a game-changer for the city. He said: ‘This is huge. The former Royal Marines Museum, the great place that it was, got 25,000 visitors a year.
‘By moving it here we expect to get 250,000 visitors going to the museum.’
Yesterday bosses from the NMRN submitted their second and final bid for cash from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which is providing almost £14m towards the construction of the new centre.
Despite this, the NMRN still needs to raise a further £1m to make sure it has enough funding – something Mr Rawlinson is confident won’t be a problem.
The work to convert the Action Stations building is earmarked to begin in February next year.
As well as featuring star attractions, the new museum will also house a massive assault course for visitors.
Mr Rawlinson said it would be ‘similar’ to Go Ape, with large climbing frames and a rope course running through the museum. If all goes well, the museum is due to be opened in 2020.
‘We’re looking at opening it on St George’s Day (Thursday, April 23),’ revealed Mr Rawlinson. ‘That’s a really great day for the Royal Marines. It’s the anniversary of the Battle of Zeebrugge raid, which was a huge moment in the corps’ history.’
Mr Rawlinson said the public support for the museum had blown him and his team away. ‘People have been digging deep for this,’ he said. ‘Every month we receive donations of between £30,000 and £40,000 from the public.’
He added 600 Royal Marines had taken part in a ‘Day’s Pay’ scheme, where they donated a day’s wages towards the museum’s building costs.