Work begins on 'Mary Rose' museum

WORK begins today on a new £36m museum which will bring the hull of the Mary Rose and thousands of its artefacts together under the same roof for the first time since they were brought up from the seabed almost 30 years ago.

The project at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in Hampshire has been described as “the most ambitious heritage construction project seen in Europe this decade”.

The new building housing the Mary Rose’s fully-conserved hull and its 19,000 artefacts will take the form of a finely crafted wooden “jewellery box”, clad in timber planks.

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It will replace the current temporary museum located 300 metres away, which has space to display only five per cent of the Tudor items recovered with the wreck.

During the construction of the new museum, the Mary Rose will be out of view to the public. When the museum opens in 2012, the preserving chemical sprays that have kept the hull shrouded in mist will be gone.

The ship will be on display during the final phase of conservation, controlled air drying, until 2016 when the 34-year project to preserve the timbers will be complete.

The Mary Rose is the only 16th century warship on display anywhere in the world. The ship, one of Henry VIII’s favourites, was launched in 1511 but sank during a battle in 1545.