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Bright future beckons for National Museum of the Royal Navy Hartlepool

£1m appeal launched to secure future of Nelson-era frigate
21 July 2017
Short term plans to invest up to £500,000 at Hartlepool’s National Museum of the Royal Navy have been announced for the next year.

An upgraded playship for families, conservation work on centrepiece HMS Trincomalee, which is celebrating its bicentenary this year, and a creative art installation marking the centenary of the end of the First World War are among the highlights.

The National Museum of the Royal Navy took over the operation of the former Hartlepool Maritime Experience and HMS Trincomalee site 12 months ago and since then new marketing and the rebranding of the site has generated an additional 11,500 visitors.

Much-needed funds totalling £250,000 have been invested on resolving maintenance issues and conservation on HMS Trincomalee, the sole-surviving link with the 19th century Bombay shipyards and the UK’s oldest warship still afloat.

The recently rediscovered figure head of Trincomalee will be restored following the completion of a public crowdfunding campaign and will welcome families into a new activity zone offering hands-on adventures themes on the story of the ship and her historic ties to the sub-continent and restoration in Hartlepool.

We continue to work very well with our partners at Hartlepool Borough Council with the shared aim of making the site sustainable and a real tourism gem for the region

Professor Dominic Tweddle, Director General of The National Museum of the Royal Navy

New volunteer and learning opportunities for local young adults or “volunteens”, particularly those not in education, employment or training – NEETs – are being developed with an emphasis on gaining skills.

A countrywide art project  by the National Museum, currently subject to funding, to observe the end of centenary commemorations for the First World War will be launched at Hartlepool later this year and feature one hundred life-sized statues decorated by renowned artists before they embark on a journey around the national museum’s other sites in Belfast, Somerset and Portsmouth.

Longer term aspirations at the site includes new galleries capturing Trincomalee’s essential role linking it to the Indian Royal Navy and East Indian Company and the potential re-siting of Rescue Motor Launch (RML) 497 to tell the heroic story of the Royal Navy’s small boats in the North Sea.

Professor Dominic Tweddle, Director General of The National Museum of the Royal Navy said, “Following a year-long consultation with visitors it is clear that they want more things to do for the family so they can make a full day of it. So investing in the family offer is essential. It means more people will visit, particularly locals, and this will have an overwhelmingly positive influence on the town.

“HMS Trincomalee remains the jewel in the crown on the site but needs essential maintenance and conservation and must be a priority for us if she is to survive another 200 years. We will work with the HMS Trincomalee Trust, which we own, to simplify governance on the site to refresh the board and recruit new trustees with relevant project-based skill, building on the National Museum’s exemplary historic ship experience.

“The country welcomes a new aircraft carrier class to the RN fleet this year. We must capitalise on this interest by telling the proud story of the North East’s contribution to our RN heritage. We continue to work very well with our partners at Hartlepool Borough Council with the shared aim of making the site sustainable and a real tourism gem for the region.”

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