Firepower – The Royal Artillery Museum
|Established||4 May 1820|
|Location||Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, South East London|
|Public transit access||Woolwich Arsenal|
The museum is much more than a regimental museum as the RA has been involved in most British actions for over 200 years. It was originally established to preserve Royal Artillery (RA) history and as a training collection. Over two million men and women have served in the RA since its formation and human stories of bravery and sacrifice are told throughout the museum.
The forerunner of Firepower was the Royal Military Repository, which was established on the Royal Arsenal site in May 1778. After a fire in 1802 the surviving artefacts were rehoused in the Old Royal Military Academy. In 1820 the main collection was moved to the Rotunda on Woolwich Common.
The collection moved to Firepower in April 2001. All of Firepower's buildings were once part of the Royal Laboratory Department, which controlled the manufacture of ammunition. The Old Military Academy and some of the other buildings used by Firepower are grade II listed. The adjacent Greenwich Heritage Centre tells the story of the local people of Greenwich who worked in the Arsenal and made the guns.
The present museum is Accredited by Arts Council England.
The collections are designated as being of national and international significance by Arts Council England.
- Field of Fire
An interactive exhibit with sound, smoke and screens will give visitors an idea of what it is like to be a modern gunner in war time.
- The Gunnery Hall
The museum's main display of 20th century weapons.
- The History Gallery
The history of artillery from its earliest beginnings with examples of artillery from around the world.
- Medals Gallery
Just some of the museum's collection of thousands of medals won by members of the Royal Regiment of Artillery telling the stories behind them.
- Modern Gunner
Brings the story of the Gunners right up to the present day.
The current museum will close in July 2016. A new heritage centre / museum is planned in Wiltshire, the new home of the regiment, and will open in 2019-20. The collections will be professionally stored and conserved for the opening of this heritage centre. A permanent Royal Regiment of Artillery gallery is planned in association with the Greenwich Heritage Trust on the existing site.
Gallery of exhibits
Gallery of buildings
To the left of the main entrance, the former Royal Laboratory Offices (Building 18, 1855-6) houses museum offices and archives.
Building 41 (opposite the main museum) was originally part of the New Laboratory Square factory complex.
Building 40 is the oldest of the buildings. It once housed the Royal Military Academy, it provided an early home for the Royal Artillery Museum between 1802-1820, prior to its move to the Rotunda.
Other Artillery museums
- "Woolwich Firepower Royal Artillery Museum 'to leave by 2017' - former board member hits out". Retrieved 26 May 2014.
- "A statement by the Chairman of the Royal Artillery Museum Board". Retrieved 8 July 2014.
- Survey of London vol. 48: Woolwich. Yale. 2012.
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