As a museum, HMS Belfast has always had an unfair advantage over many of its "peers". Not only is it moored in central London, it is a famous and intact battleship which saw active service in World War Two. Now people can explore it themselves.
The visitor experience is about to get even more realistic with the addition of a new interactive element that brings to life the experiences of a young sailor on active service in one of the ship’s mighty triple gun turrets.
Gun Turret Experience: A Sailor’s Story 1943 uses lights, imagery, sound, movement and smoke effects to recreate the atmosphere and conditions as they were experienced by a wartime gun crew in action.
Following the experiences of a young sailor on Boxing Day 1943, visitors are transported back to the moment when HMS Belfast sighted the German battle cruiser Scharnhorst and engaged it during the Battle of North Cape.
Aimed at children aged seven years and over, the commanding gunnery officer is thier guide as they witness the action unfold. Seeing the gun move into action they even feel the force of its report as the whole gun turret shakes around them.
The interactive experience, which has been developed with the help of Royal Navy veterans, takes place in one of triple gun turrets overlooking the ship’s quarterdecks.
Phil Reed, Director of HMS Belfast, said the new feature will give give visitors an “exhilarating perspective on life at sea”.
"By immersing people in the sights and sounds of a naval battle we hope visitors will leave HMS Belfast with not only a greater knowledge of the Second World War but also a deeper understanding of its impact.”
The new feature is the second interactive element unveiled at the famous warship this year, and follows the opening of the Interactive Ops Room in April.