SOUTHSEA’S D-Day Museum will be opening in time for Easter, city officials have pledged – and with a new name.
The site, which is undergoing the final stage of its £5m transformation, will now be known as the D-Day Story.
Inside its refurbished galleries will be a host of never-before-seen exhibits that will tell the story of the historic invasion in a new way.
Experiences from those who battled through the war in the military and those who survived the hardships at home as civilians will be explored.
Councillor Linda Symes, Portsmouth City Council’s culture boss, said: ‘The newly transformed D-Day Story is a major addition to the world-class cultural and heritage offering that the waterfront city of Portsmouth has to offer.
‘D-Day was a pivotal moment in the Second World War and the D-Day Story re-tells the human stories that underpin the history as the event passes from living memory.’
At the heart of the museum’s collection is the historic 83-metre Overlord Embroidery, an art textile inspired in part by the 11th century Bayeux Tapestry. Commissioned in 1963 by Lord Dulverton of Batsford, the embroidery documents the Battle of Normandy, codenamed Operation Overlord.
One of the new items to be displayed for the first time is a pencil used by Lieutenant Commander John A. H. Harmer to sign the order for Force G – the naval forces that went to Gold Beach – to depart for Normandy. He has shaved off part of the pencil end to create a flat surface, upon which he wrote: ‘This pencil started the invasion’.
Dr Jane Mee, Portsmouth museums and visitor services manager and programme lead at the city council, said: ‘Our aim in transforming the museum was to involve the remaining Normandy veterans in telling their stories and to ensure the D-Day Story maintains the international significance it deserves.’
Landscaping and further improvements to the outside of the museum will be completed in 2019 when Landing Craft Tank 7074 will arrive at the site in time for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day on June 6 2019.