Student and schools workshops | The Mary Rose
School and college workshops

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Our busy Learning Department provides learning opportunities for all ages and abilities in the purpose-built Stavros Niarchos Foundation Learning Centre classroom and laboratory. School visits, CPD for teachers, family learning and more!


Key Stage 1 & 2: Primary School Programme

Henry’s Heroes
Life on board the Mary Rose

Discover life above and below decks on King Henry VIII’s favourite warship. Handle a wide range of replica artefacts to investigate how differently the officers and crew lived, worked and played at sea. Dressing up for all with our replica Tudor clothing – bring the camera for a brilliant photo opportunity for the whole class!

Key Questions: 

  • What was it like to live and work on King Henry VIII’s favourite ship? (KS1)
  • What were the differences in work and lifestyle between the officers and crew on the Mary Rose? (KS2)

National Curriculum Link:

History (KS1)

  • Events beyond living memory that are significant nationally.
  • Significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national achievements.
  • Significant historical events, people and places in pupils’ own locality

History (KS2)

  • A study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066
  • Connections, contrasts and trends over time


Materials under the Microscope
Investigate a plastic-free world

Work with real and replica artefacts to investigate Tudor materials, focusing on the properties of materials. Were they fit for purpose? How do they compare with modern materials, particularly plastic? Use digital microscopes to compare sample materials and see them in high definition to find out more about their properties and how they are conserved in the museum



Key Questions:

  • What materials did the Tudors use? 
  • How sustainable were they compared with modern equivalents?  What was it like to live in a plastic-free world?

National Curriculum Link: 

KS2 Science

  • Uses of everyday materials; properties and changes of materials


Fighting Fit
Were the Mary Rose crew fit to fight?

Dispel some of those myths about Tudor life.  Are we fitter and healthier than our Tudor ancestors?  A series of activities looking at diet and fitness via our skeletons, food and exercise is designed to answer this question. Handle replica artefacts to understand the impact of lifestyle on the officers and crew of the Mary Rose.





Key Questions:

  • Just how good was the nutrition and fitness of the men of the Mary Rose?
  • How does it compare with our nutrition and fitness today?

National Curriculum Link: 

KS2 Science (Animals including humans)

  • The importance for humans of exercise, eating the right amounts of different types of food/nutrition and hygiene
  • Impact of diet, exercise and lifestyle on humans
  • Skeletons and changes as humans develop to old age


Tudor Gun Drill
Battle plans and cannon fire

A two-part challenge:

  1. What does it take to work as a Tudor Gun Crew?  Find out what it would be like on board in the heat of battle by loading and firing our full-size replica gun in small teams.
  2. Think big! Teams plan a strategy to attack or defend Portsmouth Harbour in 1545 with ships, castles and soldiers using a contemporary map.  Can you change history?





Key Questions:

  • How did the Gun Crew work together to load and fire Tudor cannon?
  • How was Tudor Portsmouth attacked by the French and defended by the English in 1545?

National Curriculum Links: 

SMSC development: 

  • Team work
  • Empathy

KS2 History:

  • A study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066
  • Connections, contrasts and trends over time
Portsmouth’s Tudor Past
Life in a Tudor town: local history and geography

What was it like to live in the home port of the Mary Rose?  Look at maps, handle replica artefacts and dress up to build up a picture of life in Portsmouth 500 years ago.  How much has the City changed since the time of the Mary Rose? How does it compare to modern life?



Key Question: 

  • How much has Portsmouth changed since Tudor times? 

National Curriculum Link:

KS2 History 

  • A local history study; a study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066
  • Connections, contrasts and trends over time



Key Stage 3 & 4: Secondary School Programme

Tudor History Mystery
Contribute to the ongoing debate

Why did the Mary Rose sink and why is she so significant? Engage in a genuine debate comparing conflicting primary sources on the sinking of the ship before voting for the most likely theory. Try to identify mystery replica artefacts. What does this amazing collection reveal about Tudor life?

Key Questions: 

  • Why did the Mary Rose sink?
  • What was the function and significance of a range of Tudor artefacts?

National Curriculum Link:

KS3 History

  • The development of Church, state and society in Britain 1509-1745
  • How different types of historical sources are used rigorously to make historical claims; how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed.
Shipwreck Science
Discover the science behind the Mary Rose story

Practical activities focus on two key areas: materials conservation and forensic science. Students use digital and light microscopes to look at real and replica materials from the Mary Rose. Which materials survive and why?

Discussion of the latest research on the skeletons from the wreck shows how DNA and isotope analysis has changed our view of the Tudors forever.



Key Questions:

  • How was the Mary Rose found and how was she raised?
  • What challenges do conservators face when preserving archaeological wood?

National Curriculum Link:

KS3 Science

  • Uses of science today and in the future. Science careers. 
  • Develop excitement and curiosity about science.
Strictly Tudor Surgery
Renaissance medicine in action

Just how bad was Tudor medicine? How effective was the Mary Rose Surgeon? Using costumes and replica artefacts as props role-play the Surgeon and his patients in scenarios based on the Mary Rose crew. Medical practice must be strictly Tudor!


Key Question:

  • How effective was Tudor medicine?  

National Curriculum Link:

KS3 History

  • The development of Church, state and society in Britain 1509-1745

SMSC development

  • Team work
Tudor Masterclass
Stretch very able students

Examine Latin inscriptions found on the Mary Rose and explore their significance.  Handle replicas to investigate what the Mary Rose collection tells us about the tumultuous reign King Henry VIII.  Explore evidence of change and continuity in church, state and society, 1509 – 1545.




Key Questions:

  • What can the Mary Rose tell us about this pivotal time in history
  • How far can we trust our sources?

National Curriculum Link:

KS3 History

  • The development of Church, state and society in Britain 1509-1745
  • Extension and deepening of chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British history.
  • Historical terms and concepts.
What sank the Mary Rose?
Sources and practical investigation

Why did the Mary Rose sink? Was the ship unstable or overloaded?  Were there other factors? Test predictions relating to stability and load-bearing capacity of models. Use the scientific evidence to support or refute the theories, and consider what further evidence may be required.

Key Questions:

  • What caused the Mary Rose to sink nearly 500 years ago? 
  • Is it possible to find out?
  • What do the sources tell us and why are they contradictory?

National Curriculum Links

KS3 History

  • The development of Church, state and society in Britain 1509-1745
  • How different types of historical sources are used rigorously to make historical claims and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed.

KS3 Science

  • Relating scientific explanations to phenomena in the past and using modelling and abstract ideas to develop and evaluate explanations.

Post-16 Programme

A Level Tudor History
Immerse students in the Tudor world

See thousands of real artefacts all dating from 1545 in the museum, including some not found anywhere else in the world. Dr David Starkey calls it “England’s Pompeii” – one moment in time preserved for ever. Includes:

  • a conflicting evidence case study
  • The intriguing evidence of religious practice from the Mary Rose
  • real and replica artefact handling
Business Studies/Leisure Travel and Tourism
Multi-award winning Mary Rose

Meet the Museum Management Team and put key areas of business in context. Topics offered include: operational issues; customer service; marketing.


  • Introductory Talk: Running a Museum Business
  • Practical real-life challenge
  • Group presentations and Q&A
Critical Thinking Investigation
What sank the Mary Rose?

Supports IB Theory of Knowledge and A Level Arts and Sciences

Encourage critical thinking in 16+ learning. A challenging inter-disciplinary day involving History, Science and Archaeology. Workshop sessions on the sinking of the Mary Rose involve:

  • Examining conflicting evidence
  • Setting, testing and defending hypotheses
  • Group presentations
Useful information for teachers and leaders

Arrival and supervision around the site

Entrance to the Mary Rose Museum is on the right-hand side of the Dockyard gate. Bags may be searched. On arrival, make your way to the Mary Rose Museum. You may wish to visit the toilets in Boathouse 7 on route or use the toilets outside the Mary Rose Museum to the right of the main door. The Museum is 10 minutes’ walk from the main visitor entrance.  Appropriate clothing should be worn in bad weather. 

Please ensure that your pupils are supervised at all times. Teachers and adult helpers are free.  Please make museum staff aware of any particular special needs to ensure we can give extra assistance where applicable.

The Museum

If you have booked a workshop, you will be allocated a Volunteer to facilitate your museum visit. Please let us know if this is not required and you would rather be self-guided.

If you have not booked a workshop the museum element is self-guided. Upgrades to guided tours are available for an extra £1 per child.

The museum operates a one-way visitor route over three floors. This involves use of lifts and/or stairs. All areas can be accessed by lifts and ramps. A floor plan of the Museum for reference along with key areas to explore is included in this pack.

The aim is that visitors of all ages enjoy the experience of being in the museum:

Look               See thousands of artefacts on show opposite the ship and watch the projections

Listen              Sounds bring the three different levels to life

Touch             Replica objects and other activities are available

Smell               Find the real rope for a real Tudor scent!

Ask                  Museum Team Members are available to answer questions

The Museum is a very dark environment.  It is lit dramatically to show the artefacts to their best advantage and to ensure that they do not suffer damage from the light. 

You may wish to be aware that human remains are displayed on the lower and upper decks of the museum. The content of some displays e.g. the Surgeon may upset particularly sensitive children.

Due to the size and layout of the museum, children are at risk of getting lost if they stray from their group. Please strongly advise children to stay with their group. If they are lost or you realise someone is missing, inform a Museum Team Member who will activate our lost child procedure.  

Museum Team Members are in uniform and wear identification badges. Mary Rose lanyards and badges are worn by staff in non-uniform. Approach anyone with any questions or concerns. They will be happy to help you or direct you to the appropriate place for help.

In order to ensure that all our visitors enjoy their visit to the full, please ensure that your pupils:

  • Behave in an appropriate manner for museum visiting
  • Walk (please don’t run!) around the building
  • Don’t eat or drink in the museum
  • Don’t use mobile phones in the galleries in a way which disturbs others

In the very unusual circumstance of groups or individuals behaving in an offensive or unreasonable manner, the Museum reserves the right to ask you to leave the site.

Mary Rose Workshops

You will be met on arrival at the museum entrance. For later sessions, please arrive at the door to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Learning Centre (at the back of the Mary Rose Museum) 5 minutes before your workshop begins unless directed otherwise.

Coat and bag storage is available in the Learning Centre for groups who have booked workshops. However, we cannot take any responsibility for loss or damage to personal belongings. Please advise pupils to bring as little as possible and no valuable items.

We are very happy to accommodate SEND pupils. Just let us know how we can help.

Two emergency toilets are available in the Learning Centre for those undertaking workshops.  Please make use of the main facilities outside at the front of the museum or in the Upper Deck gallery for whole group toilet breaks. 

Toilets, Lunch and Shop

Toilets are available just outside the main Museum entrance and inside the Museum on the upper floor. Accessible toilets are located in the Learning Centre, in Reception and just outside the Museum.   

A shared space for visiting schools in Boathouse 7 is available for children to eat their lunch. Visitors are not permitted to eat their own packed lunch in the Museum Cafe. Please note – this facility is approximately a 5 minute walk from the Museum.  Alternatively, there are places to sit outside in fine weather.

The shop stocks pocket-money items. Please encourage pupils to move around the shop in small groups and have their money ready at the till. ‘Goody bags’ are also available to pre-order if time is tight. 


We value feedback on visits.  You and your pupils may be asked to fill in evaluation forms to help us to monitor our work.

Useful downloads for teachers
Teacher's Guides

Everything you need to know when planning your visit to the Mary Rose


Please express your interest by filling in the form below, or calling us on +44(0)23 9281 2931 (ext. 2311). Please note this form does not constitute a booking.

Cancellation Policy

We require confirmed numbers together with full payment for your booking 21 days prior to your visit to the Mary Rose. Please note, if you have booked workshops, we require 21 days’ notice of cancellation. Cancellation within 21 days will incur charges.

Sandford Winner 2016 Logo White
Quality Badge awarded by Council for Learning Outside the Classroom