Claire the Tudor archer!

After we had waved everyone off on the last day of The Anne Boleyn Experience 2010, Tim and I travelled down to Portsmouth Historic Docks to visit the Mary Rose Museum.

As you may know, here at The Anne Boleyn Files, we have been supporting the Mary Rose 500 Appeal to raise money for the new museum which is being built. I feel very strongly about this appeal because it saddens me that the trust have 19,000 artefacts which the general public just have not been able to see because there is no room to display them. How fabulous it will be when the ship and the majority of the artefacts will be on display when the new museum is completed in summer 2012! What a great resource for educating people about life in Tudor times.

Why is the Mary Rose so important?

What is so amazing about the artefacts found in the wreck of the Mary Rose is that they are everyday items, the kind of things that we just don’t find in land archaeology because they don’t survive. In land archaeology, we find things like knife blades, whereas in sea archaeology we find knife handles – it’s great to match the two! It is truly wonderful to learn about everyday Tudor life, rather than the lives of the rich and famous, and this is why I have chosen to support the appeal.

As a supporter, I had a VIP tour of the present museum, which included a “backstage” tour of the reserve collection. This department consisted of climate controlled rooms with drawer after drawer of Tudor artefacts. I was in my element, my heart was beating fast (must be a closet Indiana Jones!) and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring these objects and trying to guess what on earth some of them were. To see Tudor fabric, Tudor shoes (some with holes cut out for the sailor’s bunions!), combs complete with Tudor head-lice and fleas (yes, you really could see 465 year old fleas!),  tiny dice and parts of Henry VIII’s flagship was an incredible experience and a great way to finish my week. I also enjoyed chatting with one of the conservators.

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After we had visited the reserve collection, we then had a tour of the main part of the present museum which told the story of the Mary Rose beautifully. My best and worst part of this bit of the tour was the gentleman who told us all about the barber surgeon. It was fascinating to see the tools used to amputate limbs, but I’m a rather squeamish person and when he showed us how the barber surgeon would use a special tool to go round the limb and cut the flesh down to the bone I felt a little dizzy! There was also a great diagram of possible injuries that a barber surgeon would treat – ranging from superficial flesh wounds to an arrow through the eye and such like! Hmm… I’m not sure I would have enjoyed being a barber surgeon!

Supporting the Mary Rose 500 Appeal

Please help The Anne Boleyn Files to support this worthwhile project so that future generations can learn about everyday Tudor life. You can contribute in the following ways:-

Thank you so much to those people who have already supported the appeal.

More on the Mary Rose

You can find out more about the Mary Rose at our special Mary Rose page –

Thanks to Fiona, Charli and Stuart for such a memorable day and the perfect end to a perfect week.

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2 thoughts on “The Mary Rose Museum”
  1. You are so fortunate to be able to go back there and see those items that have not been seen by the public for nearly 500 years! I really hope that those who visit this page help this cause- these items have been here long before we were, and what better way to ensure that they will be here for our children’s children than by supporting the Mary Rose Appeal. Every little bit helps!

  2. This is amazing Claire thanks so much for sharring it with us! Can you pay to get to see all that stuff you got to see? I live in Canada…but I will definetly be going to the new museum there when it opens! And I would do anything to see Tudor artifacts… Shoes anything.. Was wondering if you paid to get VIP or if only certain members of the museum got to go. So wonderful that they kept some of it to show people. Amazing. Thanks.

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