|National Maritime Museum|
2018 is an exciting year for Royal Museums Greenwich, with a number of new galleries and exhibitions opening throughout the year. Autumn will see the opening of the Heritage Lottery funded (HLF) Exploration Wing, four new galleries spanning Pacific and Polar exploration and Britain’s maritime past. At the National Maritime Museum enjoy the work of some of Britain’s best loved photographers, Martin Parr, Tony-Ray Jones, David Hurn and Simon Roberts in the special exhibition, The Great British Seaside: photography from the 1960s to the present.
National Maritime Museum
Opens September 2018
The ‘Exploration Wing’ will bring four new permanent galleries to the National Maritime Museum in autumn 2018. Looking into exploration in its widest sense, each of the four new galleries will bring the themes alive for people of all ages: ‘Pacific Encounters’; ‘Polar Worlds’; ‘Tudor and Stuart Seafarers’; and ‘Sea Things’, a gallery showcasing the richness of the Museum’s collections. The HLF funded galleries, designed by Casson Mann, will allow the National Maritime Museum to exhibit 1000 more objects from its collections, and provide access to areas of the museum previously closed to visitors.
The Pacific is the world’s largest ocean and has been home to many different people and cultures for more than 50,000 years. When the first European explorers sailed to the Pacific in the 17th-century, the encounters between Pacific peoples and Europeans were complex and far reaching in their consequences.
The new ‘Pacific Encounters’ gallery will tell tales of exploration and exploitation, as European travellers ventured into the vast ocean. The gallery will display objects from the voyages of renowned figures, such as Captain Cook, alongside a full size Pacific voyaging canoe - putting the museum’s collections into the broader context of Pacific histories, identities, and the legacies of these early encounters in the Pacific today.
Polar Worlds: past, present, future
The polar regions have been a focus for British exploration and scientific enquiry for centuries. For Britain, the Arctic, and later the Antarctic, became spaces to map and understand, to investigate and discover, to endure and to conquer. They also became theatres of national character and myth – where heroes were made, and sometimes lost. Today, as the world’s climate is changing, the polar regions are once more in the spotlight – the places where the most dramatic shifts are being experienced first, and where our attitudes to the future of our planet are formed.
This new gallery will examine the major British polar expeditions over the past 250 years, including the famous journeys made by Scott and Shackleton. Scientific and geographical investigation were key reasons for such expeditions, resulting in important discoveries about our planet that are still relevant today. The display will use the Museum’s outstanding collections to bring polar exploration to life, and will bring together the past, present and potential futures of these important places.
Tudor and Stuart Seafarers
The Tudor and Stuart Seafarers gallery will explore how England, and later Britain, emerged as a maritime nation between 1500 and 1700. In the late 15th-century, England’s priorities were predominantly domestic and European but over the subsequent two centuries, the people of the British Isles travelled further across the seas, and transformed the country into a leading maritime, economic and political force on the world stage.
Using over 100 objects from the museum’s rich collection, visitors will experience compelling stories of adventure, encounter, power, wealth and conflict, which will include the exploration and colonisation of ‘new worlds’, the growth of English trading networks, and the ferocity of early-modern naval warfare through the conflicts with the Spanish Armada and the Dutch. It will feature an array of characters including Christopher Columbus, Elizabeth I, Francis Drake and Samuel Pepys as well as some relatively unknown people such as seaman Edward Barlow and shipwright Peter Pett.
‘Sea Things’ is a playful gallery that will explore how our identity has been shaped by the sea. It will showcase the museum’s rich and diverse collections as a visual spectacle of over 600 objects, many on open display. Hands-on activities, a maritime quiz, talking statues and sharing personal maritime memories are just some of the ways that visitors can interact with the collection and find their own connection to the sea.
At the heart of the gallery, a digital wave will draw visitors to its shores where they can explore varied stories of adventure, achievement, love and loss through some of the museum’s most unusual, quirky and poignant objects. Visitors will also discover different perspectives for each object from the views of co-curators form our local community, stimulating their curiosity and encouraging them to look at the collection in new and different ways.
The Great British Seaside: photography from the 1960s to present
National Maritime Museum
Opens March 2018
The nation’s love affair with the seaside will be celebrated in the National Maritime Museum’s special exhibition for 2018, which will showcase beach photography by some of Britain’s best photographers. The Great British Seaside: photography from the 1960s to the present will run from March to September 2018, and will feature over 100 works by some of Britain’s most celebrated photographers, Martin Parr, Tony Ray-Jones, David Hurn and Simon Roberts.
The exhibition will explore our changing relationship with the seaside over the last six decades and will hold up a critical and affectionate mirror to a much-loved and quintessentially British experience, captured by photographers who share a mutual love of the seaside. The Great British Seaside will include images from the archival collections of each of the photographers, news film as well as some never before seen images.