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120 Girlguiding members from across South West England took over the Mary Rose Museum on Saturday 12 November as part of a special experience day to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the raising of King Henry VIII’s warship.

The award-winning Mary Rose Museum houses the wreck of the famous warship which sank in 1545 plus thousands of extraordinary Tudor artefacts. The ship and her contents were painstakingly excavated before the hull was raised in October 1982. To celebrate this milestone the museum team have created a special Mary Rose badge in partnership with Girlguiding South West England. The badge activity pack contains history, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), food and craft activities. It can be used by group leaders in unit or alongside a loan pack or visit to the museum.

To launch the badge, the Mary Rose Museum invited 120 Girlguiding members to take part in a variety of activities. Girls from across the region got a chance to work in teams to load and fire a full-size replica gun, guess the use of mystery artefacts and compare modern and Tudor food to decide if we are healthier than our Tudor ancestors.

The day coincides with the national Kids in Museums Takeover Day event in November, an event designed to empower young people and allow them to takeover roles in heritage organisations. A key part of the experience day was hearing first-hand what Girlguiding members thought about the museum, the activities and how we can bring the stories they are most interested in to life in the future. The museum team take every opportunity to hear from young people to inform their planning and help steer the course of the museum for the next 40 years.

Girls involved in the experience day earned themselves the newly launched ‘The Mary Rose’ event badge for taking part in the day.

Emily Stephens (13) and Keira Wells (13), of 1st Carisbrooke Guides, Isle of Wight, said:

"We thought it was great seeing the ship and the artefacts, we couldn't believe how it survived and how they lifted it all from the seabed. We had a great day!"

Charley Chamberlain, Mary Rose Learning Officer and Rainbow unit leader, said

“It may have been all men on the Mary Rose in 1545, but the modern story of the excavation and conservation of the ship owes much to incredible women such as the late Archaeological Director Margaret Rule, diver, curator and author Alexandra Hildred and Deputy CEO and Material Scientist Professor Eleanor Schofield. We want girls to hear about their stories and be inspired to try new things and make a difference in the world.”

Laura Cottey, South West England Chief Commissioner, said:

"We are delighted to be partnering with The Mary Rose Museum to celebrate the Kids in Museum takeover day. The opportunity for girls and young women to take part in a range of activities such as learning about the jobs on board the ship and firing full-size replica cannon and to experience the museum during its special anniversary year is fantastic. The resource pack and badge will mean that no matter where in the South West they are, they can still experience history and science activities relating to this historic ship. We are really grateful to The Mary Rose Museum and their learning team for facilitating such a brilliant day."


Due to the success of the day, we are running a second experience day on 28 January 2023. Click here to book

Download The Mary Rose Challenge here


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Girlguiding South West England, St Ann's Manor, 6-8 St Ann Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP1 2DN. Tel: 01722 329306

Girlguiding South West England is an operating name of The Guide Association South West England. Registered Charity No. 305951

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