Left: Baroness Blackstone with Sir Kenneth Eaton, Chairman of The Mary Rose Trust and Martyn Heighton (right) former Chief Executive of The Mary Rose Trust.
The Rt Hon Baroness Blackstone, Minister of State for the Arts, officially opened the new Bonaventure Gallery at the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth on Friday May 24.
The gallery is named after a Tudor sailing term for "good journey" and the fourth mast of the Mary Rose. It features a collection of interactive activities based on discoveries made by archaeologists and historians about the famous warship, which was raised 20 years ago.
"I am proud to be here today to celebrate the opening of this wonderful new addition to the Mary Rose Museum, the Bonaventure Gallery," said Baroness Blackstone.
"I am especially pleased to see that Designated Challenge Funding has been put to such imaginative use, enabling visitors to the gallery to have a more "hands on", sensory and educational experience."
"The gallery brings Tudor history alive by allowing our visitors to touch, hear and even smell what life may have been like," said acting Chief Executive Charles Payton.
"It is an imaginative use of the funding and has greatly enhanced access to the collection. Since we rely so heavily on visitor income, any improvements for our visitors must be warmly welcomed. "
Visitors will see the world’s only original 16th century fighting top (or crow’s nest) found in the hold of the ship and specially conserved and reconstructed for display in the gallery
Funding for the gallery comes from the Designation Challenge Fund held by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, administered by Resource, the Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries.
As a Designated Museum, the Mary Rose Collection is acknowledged as one of national and international importance. Over £340,000 has been received over three years from the fund.
The funding has also enabled other improvements to the museum such as the recruitment of a full-time Learning Development Officer and costumed education interpreters - and a contribution towards the cost of the country’s largest archaeological freeze drier!