The New Mary Rose Museum was a major winner at this year’s M+H Awards beating tough competition across two categories to take home awards in both the Permanent Exhibition and Restoration/Conservation categories.

The excavation and salvage of the Mary Rose created a milestone in the field of maritime archaeology and remains the largest excavation and recovery ever undertaken. The project comprises the construction of a new museum and the creation of a new exhibition to display the collection in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, building around and over the hull of the Mary Rose whilst it remained in dry dock under continuous conservation. The project has been in progress for over thirty years and will not be complete for another ten years.

Reuniting thousands of conserved artefacts, and placing them into context with the ship for the first time in over 400 years has been an extraordinary task and has resulted in the creation of a sustainable museum where Mary Rose and her artefacts can tell their stories to future generations. There has been regular public access to conservation facilities to see this conservation in action.

The interior architecture of the museum is based on the painstaking archaeological excavation which provides a record of the location of very find, enabling the context gallery to display thousands of objects exactly where they were in the moments before the sinking. This is one of the largest environmentally controlled showcases in the world and runs the entire length of the ship at three levels.

The fragility of the objects after 400 years under the sea requires particular temperature and humidity controls to ensure the long term preservation of this wonderful collection.

Once the air-drying of the hull is complete in 2016, the final phase of the conservation process will start. Context gallery walkways will be opened in the ship hall and the Mary Rose and all her contents will be seen together allowing visitors to walk into the vast display case containing the iconic ship herself.

Sally Tyrrell from Mary Rose Museum, commented: “We are absolutely delighted to have won the two awards and value them particularly as they come from within our peer group of Museum and Heritage professionals.

“They are a fitting tribute to everyone involved in the project from those very early days till now. To have the work of our dedicated conservation and collections team be recognised in this way is enormously pleasing, reflecting their remarkable achievements. And for the new museum to receive the best permanent exhibition award is the icing on the cake after many years of planning and hard work. I am enormously proud of the team and of everything that has been achieved. Our story continues and I am confident that the successes of last night will propel us and Portsmouth Historic Dockyard to yet greater heights.”

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