Inside the New Royal Marines Museum
Royal Marines Museum Moves to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
The Royal Navy has revealed the first glimpses of the new Royal Marines Museum – two years before the doors open on the £18m visitor attraction.Museum Directors promise a much more interactive, hi-tech museum which will immerse tourists in the world of the Royal Marines from the birth more than 350 years ago through to their present-day commando role… not forgetting the RM Band.
The existing museum in Eastney was considered unsuitable for such a major overhaul – and its distant location, away from the city’s other historic attractions, meant that it was missing out on hundreds of thousands of potential visitors.
The National Museum of the Royal Navy decided the Corps should join the core of the RN’s historic ships and displays in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, occupying the historic boathouse currently home to the Action Stations display.
New Royal Marines Museum
Key exhibits planned in the new RM galleries, a retired Lynx helicopter suspended; landing craft used by commandos in daring raids and a host of large audio-visual displays capturing iconic Royal Marines in action around the globe.
By moving it to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard we expect to get at least 250,000 visitors going to the museum. That’s a ten-fold increase of people having access to the incredible story of the Royal Marines
John Rawlinson, the NMRN’s director of visitor experience
“The former museum in Eastney was a great place but only got 25,000 visitors a year,” said John Rawlinson, the NMRN’s director of visitor experience.
“By moving it to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard we expect to get at least 250,000 visitors going to the museum. That’s a ten-fold increase of people having access to the incredible story of the Royal Marines.”
This week the National Museum submitted its second and final bid for cash from the Heritage Lottery Fund: almost £14m towards the construction of the new museum in Boathouse 6.
Its submission also includes funding for the newest national collection of two million items in Storehouse 12 for ‘The Navy Unlocked’, giving an airing to objects previously held in storage. A decision is expected mid-summer.”
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard Top Five Tourist Attraction
Portsmouth’s historic dockyard has smashed its way into the top UK’s five cultural attractions outside the capital, according to the Royal Navy.
More than 900,000 people visited the site – home to HMS Victory, Mary Rose, Warrior, WW1 monitor M33, their supporting museums and the Jutland exhibition – in 2017.
That lifts the dockyard into the upper ranks of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions’ listings. Outside London, only Stonehenge, the Roman baths in Bath, Chester Zoo and the RHS gardens at Wisley pull in more punters – with the exception of theme parks, which are not covered by the association.
Visitor numbers across historic and cultural sites in the UK rose by more than 7 per cent last year – an extra seven tourists for every 100 walking through the entrances.
The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) recorded a 17 per cent rise across its empire, which includes the Fleet Air Arm and RN Submarine Museums, HMS Trincomalee in Hartlepool and Jutland veteran HMS Caroline in Belfast.
The biggest impact has been in the Portsmouth area – the result of a decade of investment, improvement, new attractions (such as M33, the new Mary Rose Museum), the draw of HMS Queen Elizabeth since the carrier arrived in the city in August – with record tourist numbers helping to pump £110m into the local economy in 2017.
“This is a great way to begin the tourism year and gives us further proof that what we are doing with investing in our heritage product and marketing it widely is working,” said NMRN director general Dominic Tweddle.
The new Royal Marines Museum will be sure to boost visitor numbers even more.
Source: Royal Navy
Featured Image: Royal Marine Commandos on parade to mark the official formation of a second Scottish-based Royal Marine Unit in April 2012. The new 43 Commando is one of only two Royal Marine Units in Scotland and the largest in the UK with 790 men.