Naval Heritage Centenary

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Friends of the Royal Naval Museum and HMS Victory

If you are interested in Britain’s maritime heritage and particularly inspired by the story of the Royal Navy we invite you to join The Friends of the Royal Naval Museum and HMS Victory. The Friends were formed in 1976 to support the newly created Royal Naval Museum (Now the National Museum of the Royal Navy Portsmouth) and have assisted by helping to finance specific projects, purchasing and collecting important items and providing volunteers to assist in projects, events and other activities of the museum and the ship. Volunteers also crew the museum’s Steam Pinnace at local regattas and events.

Privileges of membership include free entry to the Museum and HMS Victory and regular issues of our award winning biannual magazine 'Scuttlebutt'. Throughout the year, a series of lectures, lunches and visits are arranged for the Friends, the majority of which have a maritime theme. Friends also enjoy corporate membership and associated access privileges and members rates at the Royal Maritime Club in Portsmouth.

Projects that have been supported and funded by the Friends include:

• The quarter scale model of HMS Victory’s original figurehead located at the entrance to the Victory Gallery
• Replicated artefacts and display models for HMS Victory
• A state of the art book scanner for the museum
• Key liaison and outreach visits for museum staff
• Funding of the centrepiece video for the new hear My Story exhibition

To join the Friends, please complete the application form here

The National Museum of the Royal Navy (Portsmouth) *

The Museum is based in the Georgian Storehouses in the Heritage Area of Her Majesty’s Naval Base at Portsmouth and tells the story of the Royal Navy since its inception. Award-winning exhibitions completed under the first phase of a multi-million pound redevelopment plan include the History of the Sailing Navy and Nelson, the great naval commander. The Victory Gallery is the link with HMS Victory telling the story of the ship, and includes the Trafalgar Experience which allows the visitor to understand and experience battle on the gun-deck of a British sailing warship. The Friends financed and commissioned a quarter scale model of HMS Victory’s original figurehead as their contribution to phase I of the redevelopment programme and this has now been installed at the entrance of the Victory Gallery. The Museum opened the brand new Babcock Galleries in April 2014, housing a Special Exhibition Space and the HMS - Hear My Story exhibition, and in 2015 will be commemorating the centenary of the Gallipoli Campaign with an exhibition "Gallipoli - Myth and Memory.'

HMS Victory

Since 1922 the Society of Nautical Research has shouldered the task of restoring HMS Victory to her condition at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The Ministry of Defence continues to carry out the main structural repairs to the hull and rigging and much work is being carried out to restore the interior to original condition. The Friends are helping to finance some of the replica items that will be displayed in the restored areas.

The Museum’s Boats

The Museum’s boats include the steam pinnace which was built a century ago and has now been restored to operational condition; the boiler and engine having been restored with the aid of a grant from the Friends. The pinnace is used in and around Portsmouth Harbour for Royal and ceremonial occasions and manned and maintained by volunteers.

(* In 2010, the Royal Naval Museum became a subsidiary of the newly-formed National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) and changed its name.  The NMRN, a registered charity (No 1126283), is an umbrella organisation set up to provide a coherent voice and strategy for the preservation and interpretation of the country's Naval heritage as a whole.  As a first step, the NMRN is embracing the Royal Naval Museum and its sister Naval museums - the Fleet Air Arm Museum, the Royal Marines Museum and the Royal Navy Submarine Museum - and the visitor-facing services of HMS Victory (the ship remaining in commission for the foreseeable future).    The Friends of the Royal Naval Museum will be considering their position in relation to the NMRN as its strategy develops, but in the meantime they will continue to devote their efforts to improving the visitor experience and collections care provided by the Museum at its location in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.)

HMS M.33

HMS M.33 is a unique survivor. Launched in May 1915 she is the sole remaining British veteran of that year’s bloody Gallipoli Campaign and the only British warship from the First World War that will be open to the public during the centenary year.

The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) and Hampshire County Council (HCC) have worked as partners to develop the £2.4m project to conserve, restore and interpret HMS M.33 With a grant of £1.8m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) the ship will be made physically and intellectually open to all for the first time. The ship sits in No.1 Dock alongside HMS Victory in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, and uniquely visitors will start with a 6 metre descent into the bottom of the dock before stepping aboard. New interpretation, including a stunning immersive battle experience, will bring alive HMS M.33’s history, the stories of the men who served on board, and the bloody history of the Gallipoli Campaign. The Campaign claimed over 100,000 lives of personnel from all round the world, and the ship will be a focus for national commemorations when she opens in August 2015.'

HMS Caroline

HMS Caroline, a light cruiser built in 1914, is the last survivor of the Battle of Jutland, and the last survivor of the Grand Fleet which lay at the heart of Britain’s power and politics in the period 1905 – 1918.

The National Museum of the Royal Navy has been working tirelessly to ensure that she is protected, with the aim of opening her to the public. The upcoming centennial commemorations of the outbreak of World War One and the Battle of Jutland mean that it is the perfect time to present HMS Caroline to the public.