WHY IS THE MUSEUM MOVING?
The Royal Marines Museum at Eastney was closed in 2017 after being deemed no longer fit for purpose. Conditions within the 150-year-old building itself presented a clear risk to a nationally significant collection with over two million items kept in over 20 stores across five floors.
The cost of keeping the site open was prohibitively expensive. In addition, due to its remote location away from public transport links, the site welcomed less than 40,000 visitors per year. The new Royal Marines Museum will not only help us to safeguard and showcase artefacts more effectively but being based in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard will give the 850,000 annual visitors to the site, which is the UK’s premier destination for naval heritage, the chance to explore the Royal Marine’s story.
The galleries will be situated in Boathouse 6, a short walk from HMS Victory and opposite HMS Warrior, placing the unique history of the Corps in its rightful place within the wider story of the Royal Navy. The architecture of the Victorian Mess at Eastney was restrictive and incompatible with our vision to create a world leading museum befitting the 350+ year history of the Royal Marines. With large open plan floors, the Boathouse offers a flexible format that will endure and enable us to respond to and share the unfolding story of the Royal Marines now and for future generations. Physical access for veterans, some of whom are injured, and serving personnel, will be greatly improved, creating a space they can call their own.
WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THE COLLECTION?
Following the closure of Eastney, the National Museum has been working to ensure that all items, from the smallest medal to very large paintings and cannon, are catalogued, their condition assessed, scanned, stored safely to museum standards and treated by the conservation team if required. If you have donated an artefact to the museum, this will be part of this collection move. A team of five are working daily on this.
As a result of this 18-month long project, we have had to change the way the museum responds to historical research enquiries or requests for access to the collections as well as facilitating research appointments and reproduction requests.
HOW MUCH MONEY DO WE NEED TO RAISE?
The current cost estimate for the project is £9.8m. The National Museum hopes to raise the majority of this through the sale of Eastney and a renewed £3.9m application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund which will be submitted later this year. The site at Eastney is currently on the market. Once requisite funding is secured we will proceed as quickly as possible and aim to be on site in 2021 and be open in early 2022. We do need to raise £5 million.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE MEMORIAL GARDEN?
The memorial garden at Eastney will remain, with full public access being maintained. This is a condition of the site sale.