National Maritime Museum
24 Feb 2011
Last week I had an exciting opportunity to be taken on a site visit of the new Sammy Ofer Wing. The site is still a hive of activity (there were over 200 men beavering away at all sorts of jobs and it felt rather similar to Piccadilly Circus in rush hour) so only two other colleagues were able to join our guide.
After signing in and swiping our temporary passes through the gates we had to put on full PPE (personal protective equipment), including gloves, steel capped boots and goggles.
We then plodded past the landscaping, which is in full swing, and the final pieces of Portland stone cladding going up, through what will be the new main entrance to the National Maritime Museum. The lobby spaces are going to be really impressive with views every which way - out to the park, up through the light wells and down the large staircase to the special exhibition space.
We were then taken round some of our back-of-house spaces. I started getting a bit disorientated quite quickly as we kept having to double back on ourselves - one staircase was being finished off so we weren't allowed to go on it - and the goggles didn't help.
It was great to finally see what our new spaces are really like after poring over plans for so long. Some spaces seem bigger while others seem smaller but it is true that the final decoration and furniture will make it seem different again. I can't wait!
Up-to-date information about the Sammy Ofer Wing and the new reading room can be found here.
Hannah, Archive & Manuscripts Manager