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Going greener at the Mary Rose

It is important for the Mary Rose Museum to include environmental sustainability in all that we do. In this blog we celebrate receiving an award for the sustainability of our conservation labs as well as looking at other ways the Mary Rose is becoming greener.

The Mary Rose Museum is on a mission to become more sustainable and has recently included environmental sustainability as an objective in its 5-year strategy. The aim is to improve environmental sustainability in all areas of the work we do to display, interpret and conserve the ship and collection.

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At the end of 2023, the conservation laboratories at the Mary Rose Museum were awarded the gold award for LEAF (Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework) in recognition of the conservation team’s work to improve sustainability. The team worked for several months to improve the sustainability of the labs, making changes to reuse and recycle equipment and materials, find sustainable conservation products, reduce the labs’ carbon footprint and starting to build sustainability into all new exhibitions and projects.

It’s not just the labs that are becoming more sustainable! The hull of the Mary Rose is kept in a very carefully controlled environment. If you have visited the museum, you may have noticed the air lock doors when you enter the ship hall; the room where the hull is. The air lock means conditioned air is kept inside when visitors enter and exit. It is kept at around 20°C and a stable, constant humidity. You can imagine, when the air outside the museum is hot, cold, damp or dry, the system has to work hard to condition the environment and this uses a lot of energy and contributes to the museum’s carbon footprint. The conservation and maintenance teams have been working to reduce this by adjusting the settings on the air conditioning systems. One of these changes was to the fans that push the air around the system, we have reduced the speed that these operate at saving lots of energy but keeping the conditions in the ship hall the same.

It was thought in the past that the temperature had to be kept strictly at 20°C for the preservation of historic objects, especially archaeological finds like the hull of the Mary Rose, but scientists have discovered that the temperature can be varied slightly without causing damage or deterioration. The set temperature in the ship hall is now changed according to the season, up to 21°C in the summer months and down to 19°C in the winter, meaning that the air conditioning system is using less energy to heat or cool the air.

There are some exciting new exhibitions being planned for the museum in the next few years and the team working on them are keen to make them as green as possible, so watch this space!

 

 

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