Portsmouth’s Mary Rose and Coronavirus | The Mary Rose
Portsmouth’s Mary Rose and Coronavirus
Portsmouth’s Mary Rose responds to the rapid spread of Coronavirus

Given the importance of both controlling the spread of the virus and relieving the burden on the NHS, the Mary Rose Museum will close to the public for the foreseeable future as of 17.00 on Tuesday 17th March.

 

Updated - 20th March 2020
 

The Mary Rose has been following the situation around the rapid spread of Coronavirus very closely and implementing all government advice.  Given the importance of both controlling the spread of the virus and relieving the burden on the NHS, the Mary Rose Museum closed to the public for the foreseeable future as of 17.00 on Tuesday 17th March.

While this is the right thing to do to play our part in containing the virus, this decision poses serious financial challenges to Mary Rose.  Mary Rose is an independent charity and receives no government or public funding to help with running costs.  Ninety per cent of Mary Rose income comes from visitors, with the majority generated during April-September.  The Trust’s whole income for the year is now at risk and with it, the safety of the unique 19,000 item Tudor collection.    

Staff at Mary Rose are working hard to reduce costs during this period of closure, however, the majority of costs do continue, as we have to care for the unique Tudor collection, even at a time of crisis.  Mary Rose’s fragile archaeological objects, dramatically rescued from their seabed home in 1982 after 437 years underwater, have to be kept at a set temperature and humidity to preserve them for future generations to enjoy.  The costs associated with this include specialist staff time, multiple complex systems and equipment to heat, cool and dehumidify air 24/7/365 days a year, as well as significant energy bills.   

The clock is now ticking on the survival of independent museums such as Mary Rose, with the coronavirus crisis highlighting the extreme financial vulnerability of these unique British heritage assets.

The Mary Rose museum exterior

The financial measures announced by the government previously did not start to address the challenges experienced by independent heritage charities, who struggle to cover the costs of caring for their priceless assets.  The offer of business loans as a means of support to cash-strapped charities simply raised the spectre of having to prioritise loan repayments over the essential care of priceless heritage assets which are held in trust for the nation and the enjoyment and learning of future generations.

The proposals announced today by the government, however, do have the potential to make a significant difference to sector financial challenges during the crisis.  While the detail of the pledges will need to be scrutinised in detail, on face value, government covering 80% of salaries during closure will provide a financial lifeline for independent museums like Mary Rose.  The commitment to defer payment of VAT/PAYE and NI bills will also help significantly with cash flow.

Challenges do remain with the ongoing costs of caring for collections during an extended period without income.  We call on the government to make substantial grants available to cover essential collections care costs during the time of crisis and beyond, in recognition that the financial challenges for heritage organisations will endure beyond any closed period, due to the loss of income from the main visitor season, which tides charities over the winter period.     

We are also calling for an urgent conversation on building resilience and better funding mechanisms for independent heritage charities.  If the irreplaceable heritage of our proud nation can fall into mortal peril so quickly, we believe we must ask ourselves serious questions about our national priorities. 

Please support your local heritage by buying tickets and making donations through this critical phase.  We are asking individuals to support Mary Rose by donating at www.maryrose.org/support-us

Helen Bonser-Wilton
Chief Executive of the Mary Rose Trust

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the museum closed?

In light of the current Coronavirus situation, The Mary Rose took the decision to close the museum to the public from 5pm Tuesday 17th March.

As an organisation we have been following the situation around the rapid spread of Coronavirus very closely and implementing all government advice, as well as taking additional measures to clean public spaces, limit the risk of transmission and to protect our staff, volunteers and visitors. 

The Prime Minister’s press conference of 16th March signalled a considerable change in tone, giving clear advice to the public to avoid all non-essential social contact and to avoid public gathering spaces such as pubs, restaurants, theatres and other social venues.

Given the importance of both controlling the spread of the virus and relieving the burden on the NHS, the Mary Rose will close to the public for the foreseeable future.

If you have a ticket already, please note that this lasts for a 12 month period from date of purchase.

If you have any additional questions, please contact our Guest Experience Team via museum@maryrose.org

I already have a ticket, when can I visit?

Currently we do not have a date for when we reopen, we understand this is frustrating, but it is sadly unavoidable at this time.

As soon as we plan to reopen we will list this information on this website and our social media channels.

Please note that your ticket is valid for a 12 month period from date of purchase.

If you have any additional questions, please contact our Guest Experience Team via museum@maryrose.org

I have a ticket but was planning on visiting when you are closed. Can I get a refund?

The Mary Rose operates with a no refund policy which is highlighted in our T&C’s listed on our website and ticket office, as such we are unable to process a refund for you.

The Mary Rose general admission ticket is valid for a 12 month period from date of purchase. Our tickets are unlimited, meaning you can enjoy the museum as many times as you like within your ticket’s 12 month validity period.

We aim to reopen the museum as soon as the government deem public spaces safe again, and will announce our reopening date via our website and social media channels.

We very much hope that you are able to visit us in the future.

If you have any questions, please email our Guest Experience Team via museum@maryrose.org

I have purchased tickets, but they are due to run out during your closed period:

The Mary Rose general admissions tickets are valid for a 12 month period from date of purchase. Our tickets are unlimited, meaning you can enjoy the museum as many times as you like within your ticket’s 12 month validity period.

However, if your tickets are due to expire during this closure period, we are more than happy to offer an extension on your tickets to allow you to use them and visit us once the museum is re-opened to visitors.

To arrange your ticket extension, please email our Guest Experience Team via museum@maryrose.org

I have booked a Premium Pass, how can I rearrange my tour?

Many thanks for your support of the museum and for purchasing one of our Premium Passes.

Please note that your Premium Pass is valid for a 12 month period from date of purchase.

If you have already booked a tour, but this is now within our closed period, we would be delighted to re-arrange a time and date for you.

To re-arrange your tour please email our Guest Experience Team via museum@maryrose.org

I have booked a group visit, but you are now closed?

Our Groups Booking team are on hand to re-arrange your Group Visit, and answer any queries or concerns you may have.

Please email the details of your Group booking to museum@maryrose.org

A member of our Group Booking Team will get back to you soon.

I have booked a school visit, but you are now closed?

Given the importance of both controlling the spread of the virus and relieving the burden on the NHS, the Mary Rose Museum will be closed to the public for the foreseeable future.

Our Education Team are on hand to re-arrange your School Visit, and answer any queries or concerns you may have.

Please email the details of your School Booking to museum@maryrose.org

A member of our learning team will get back to you soon.

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