Royal Museums Greenwich (RMG) is pleased to announce a generous gift that will create a new Tudor and Stuart gallery and learning space at the National Maritime Museum (NMM). The new galleries will tell the story of Britain’s rise as a great maritime power and Greenwich’s place at the heart of this story. The gift has been generously donated by Mark Pigott KBE, industrialist and philanthropist.

Kevin Fewster, Director of Royal Museums Greenwich said, “We are very grateful to Mr Pigott and his family for their support. Their gift is a great milestone towards our £12.6m fundraising goal. In addition to his generous donation, Mr Pigott is lending the Museum, a superb lifetime Tudor portrait of the Earl of Essex, which will be displayed in the recently remodelled Queen’s House.” Mr. Fewster added, “We are creating four new permanent galleries within the Museum, providing an additional 40 per cent of gallery space in which to place 1,000 artefacts on display. The updated galleries will enable more of the Museum's collections to be shared with our visitors and will create a spectacular contemporary environment. Our visitors will have a better understanding of the continuing relevance of Britain’s maritime heritage, Greenwich’s royal history and its importance in our national story.”

Mr Pigott shared, “Royal Museums Greenwich provides an important link between the importance of the British Navy and the country’s global expansion and today’s ever changing world. British explorers charted much of the territory in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, an area that has been my family’s home for over a century. It is a pleasure to support the Museum and enhance its education and outreach to thousands of visitors annually.”

The exhibition Tudor and Stuart Seafarers, will explore how England, and later Britain, emerged as a maritime nation between 1500 and 1700. Visitors will experience a compelling story of exploration, encounter, adventure, power, wealth and conflict, based on the Museum’s extraordinary early-modern collections. Topics will include the exploration of the Americas, the growth of worldwide trade, piracy and privateering and the defeat of the Spanish Armada. These will be brought to life through a variety of personalities from the well-known – Elizabeth I, Sir Francis Drake and Samuel Pepys – to the ordinary sailors, dockyard workers, their wives and families whose lives were shaped by the sea.

The new learning space will show how Greenwich was at the centre of Tudor and Stuart England. Henry VIII and Elizabeth I were both born in Greenwich at the Palace of Placentia and Stuart monarchs further cemented the royal connection, building the Queen’s House and establishing the Royal Observatory. The room will lend vital historical context to the rich architectural legacy of this period that forms the heart of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site.

The displays will provide a valuable resource for schools and our millions of visitors annually. Tudor and Stuart Seafarers will feature the latest interpretative techniques, encouraging audiences to engage and make powerful connections with the stories and objects that they encounter. The four new galleries relate to exploration in its widest sense, encouraging investigation, discovery and new ways of thinking. They will open to the public in autumn 2018.

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Notes to Editors

  1. Mr Mark Pigott KBE is executive chairman of PACCAR Inc (www.paccar.com), a Fortune 200 global technology company based in Bellevue, Washington. The Pigott family and PACCAR have generously supported UK organisations such as Cancer Research UK, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the British Library, the British Museum, the National Theatre and St. Paul’s Cathedral.

  2. Royal Museums Greenwich incorporates the National Maritime Museum, the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the 17th-Century Queen’s House and Cutty Sark - the National Maritime Museum holds the world’s largest maritime collection, housed in historic buildings forming part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site. Royal Museums Greenwich works to illustrate for everyone the importance of the sea, ships, time and the stars and their relationship with people. This unique collection of museums and heritage buildings, which form a key part of the Maritime Greenwich UNESCO World Heritage Site, welcomes over two and a half million British and international visitors a year and is also a major centre of education and research.

Further information and images

For further press information or images, please contact:

Sheryl Twigg or Rhianon Davies, Royal Museums Greenwich Press Office

Tel: 020 8312 6790/6545 or Email: press@rmg.co.uk

Banner image credit: artists' impression of the new Tudor and Stuart gallery © Casson Mann