Royal Marines Museum
|Location||Eastney, Hampshire, England|
|Website||Royal Marines Museum|
The Royal Marines Museum is located in Eastney (Portsmouth), England, and is open to the public throughout the year. A registered charity, it is also a designated service museum under the terms of the National Heritage Act 1983 and receives Grant-in-Aid from the Ministry of Defence (MoD). During 2011 it formally became part of the National Museum of the Royal Navy, an executive non-departmental public body of the MoD.
History of the Museum
Established in October 1958, the Museum represents the history of the Royal Marines from their beginnings in 1664 through to the present day. The Museum is located in the former Eastney Barracks which was originally constructed as the Headquarters of the Royal Marine Artillery in the 1860s.
On 28 October 2008 - The Museum's 50th birthday - the Royal Marines Museum won the Best Small Visitor Attraction of the Year award from Tourism South East, recognising its excellence, both in terms of exhibitions and the quality of the customer service provided.
Highlights of the Museum include the Medal Room, with over 8000 medals on show (including all 10 Victoria Crosses awarded to the Corps).
In September 2008, the Museum successfully purchased a rare medal for £41,000 (thanks to a contribution of £28,000 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund); the Naval General Service Medal with Trafalgar clasp was awarded to Lt Lewis Buckle Reeve who, following serious injury at the Battle of Trafalgar, was laid next to the mortally-wounded Nelson on board HMS Victory. This medal is now on show alongside Lt Reeve's Muster List of Royal Marines on-board HMS Victory at Trafalgar.
Displays include The Making of the Royal Marines Commando exhibition, a major display highlighting the demands of the 32-week training course undertaken by all Royal Marines recruits.
March 2009 saw the launch of the Beverley Gallery - an area dedicated to a rolling programme of Special Exhibitions highlighting a broad range of subjects to a variety of audiences. The first exhibition was entitled Return to Helmand: The Royal Marines in Afghanistan and opened by the Commandant General Royal Marines, Major General Garry Robison. The second - ran from April to October 2010 - was entitled Griff - Thinker, Painter, Forger, Spy? and celebrates the memorable life of Captain Guy Griffiths, a Royal Marine pilot. The last Special Exhibition was called Commando Mind and celebrated the strength of mind used by Royal Marines to achieve extraordinary results in the face of, often difficult, challenges - physical, mental or environmental.
Local folklore and legend
The museum is reportedly home to two ghosts. One is a young girl, seen around the main steps to the entry, who according to local legend was crushed to death when she ran in front of a horse-drawn carriage. The other is the smell of burning and a depressing atmosphere, experienced by staff in the attic, which has been linked to the local legend of a 19th-century officer called Colonel Wolf who burnt his love letters and shot himself there after the end of a love affair.
The museum was the location for an episode of the Antix Productions series Most Haunted Live! broadcast on 7 May 2006 as part of its Panic In Portsmouth strand, which included episodes from Wymering Manor and Southsea Castle.
- Scanlan, David (2013). Paranormal Hampshire. Amberley Publishing.
- Wilkins, Keith, Col, Leading the Way: The History of the Royal Marines Museum, (Royal Marines Museum, 2008)
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