The welcoming reception area will introduce you to the museum’s history and its founder, Maurice Wilmot. After touring the exhibitions, please visit the shop and enjoy some refreshments.
“Dreaming of the Sea” showcases the Isle of Wight as an AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and situates the museum at the heart of British maritime history from the 16th Century onwards, including a large reproduction of the Cowdray engraving of the sinking of the Mary Rose.
“Joe Carstairs – the Fastest women on water” tells the story of this extraordinary powerboating pioneer through a collection of her trophies, photos and film footage.
The large exhibition room displays the museum’s collection of maritime power and technology artefacts, featuring Colliwobble as a centrepiece. Concerned to reflect the human element and the social history of the Island, we exhibit Thomas Rowlandson’s 18th Century unique drawings of Island life, on loan from the collections of the Isle of Wight Heritage Service.
The sea has the always had the power to inspire artists, and we feature Tacita Dean’s So They Sank Her!, a tribute to HMS Gladiator which sank off Hurst Point in 1908, a pendant piece to the ship’s meat-safe which was salvaged from the wreck.
The 1960’s pop artist, Roy Lichtenstein designed the painted hull and spinnaker for the America’s Cup boat, Young America, donating his fee to charity. A photo of the hull, renamed, Mermaid, is on display at the end of this space, prefacing our forthcoming exhibition, “Heritage Highlights of the America’s Cup”.