COMMENT: Attraction will capitalise on the riches in our midst

Nostalgia in the attic

RICK JACKSON: Lofty ambitions dashed by memories

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These are truly exciting times for the National Museum of the Royal Navy and Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard.

Our rich maritime heritage and collection of historic ships is already admired the world over and a big tourism draw.

Last year was a record-breaking year for the dockyard, with 850,000 people visiting, generating £110m for the area’s economy.

Now we can reveal that the dockyard’s mightily impressive offering is to be strengthened still further by the addition of a new attraction that will showcase two million naval artefacts previously hidden from view.

Named Storyhouse 12: The Navy Unlocked, the centre will contain items that at the moment are kept in 30 separate stores within 14 buildings across nine sites – with some left in properties that are ‘at risk’.

How wonderful that these artefacts are going to be made available for the public to see – and under one roof thanks to lottery funding.

An understandably enthusiastic Jacquie Shaw of the NMRN says: ‘We are blazing a trail here in Portsmouth. This new attraction will revolutionise the way the epic story of the Royal Navy is being told.’

The whole city should be behind the NMRN in its latest project because, as Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones points out in our story on page seven: ‘The growth of the NMRN is key to attracting more visitors to the city.’

Yes, we have some amazing maritime history to show people who come to Portsmouth. But we must not rest on our laurels as visitors today want interactive experiences and modern ways to access history that both entertain and inform.

We must make the most of the riches we have in our midst – and also capitalise on the city being known around the globe as the home of the Royal Navy.

This new attraction is a great way to do so.