THE Mary Rose Museum is to close until the spring while it undergoes a major transformation which will open up the historic ship to the public
Henry VIII’s flagship, in the Historic Dockyard, has had more than one million visitors since the museum opened in 2013.
From November 30, the walls that currently separate visitors from the ship will be replaced with glazing to provide unrestricted views of the hull from bow to stern in all nine galleries and on all three levels.
For the first time since she was raised from the Solent in 1982, visitors will also be able to share the same space as the Mary Rose, entering the upper deck through an air lock, allowing visitors to experience the full splendour and magnitude of the Mary Rose.
Mark Jones is head of collections for the Mary Rose Trust.
He said: ‘Over the next six months we’re going to take away the air drying ducts that are positioned within the decks of the wreck of the Mary Rose.
We’re taking away all the walls and the viewing windows on the upper deck, opening up the environment within the ship itself – and it’s going to be spectacularMark Jones
‘We’re going to improve the unrestricted viewing, we’re going to take down the walls and replace them with full-length glazing – on the lower and middle gallery.
‘We’re taking away all the walls and the viewing windows on the upper deck, opening up the environment within the ship itself – and it’s going to be spectacular.’
The changes will allow visitors to feel as if they are actually on the ship.
Mr Jones added: ‘They will have a very clear view of the hull for the very first time since the early 1980s.’
The ducting, pipework and supports will be taken apart and the ship will be kept in a controlled environment to make sure there are no changes to the timber.
Chemicals were sprayed on the ship for around 19 years and drying out began in April 2013. Conservationists are slowly removing moisture.
A lot of the deck timbers are dry, but the thick central core timbers are still wet. It may take another five years to dry those.
Helen Bonser-Wilton, the new chief executive of the Mary Rose Trust, said, ‘This presents an extraordinary opportunity to turn the wreck of the Mary Rose back into the living ship that Henry VIII knew and loved.’