University of Portsmouth's History Blog

University and Museum Collaborations: History within and beyond the classroom

In this blog, Dr Katy Gibbons and Dr Maria Cannon discuss the different ways in which the History team (both staff and students) at the University of Portsmouth have worked with the Mary Rose Museum, and highlight some ongoing and future projects.

The History team at Portsmouth is very fortunate in having a number of award-winning museums on our doorstep, and staff and students benefit from this. Only 10 minutes walk from the History team at Milldam building is the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, and one of the museums housed here is the world-leading Mary Rose Museum. Now housed in a bespoke setting, the museum is able to offer an immersive experience – a sense of being on board the ship itself as you walk alongside the remains of the ship, and an unrivalled collection of artefacts that offer a unique snapshot of Tudor life.

For a number of years, we have had connections with the Mary Rose Museum. It has offered opportunities for our students to volunteer, undertake placements and to have paid employment during the course of their studies.

History students undertaking a placement at the Mary Rose Museum

More recently, the History team has been working with the Museum in a number of different ways. These collaborations have brought benefits to the staff and students at the University, and to the Mary Rose Museum. We hope to continue these collaborations, boosted by the newly-inaugurated Portsmouth Heritage Hub.

Our collaboration with the Mary Rose currently includes:

–          A CPD training day for teachers of A-level History. Read more about the day here.

–          The highly successful annual Heritage, Arts and Culture Careers Fair. Hosted by the Mary Rose, and organised by the student-run History Society at the University, this offers students a chance to network with representatives from a wide range of organisations within the city and beyond. It is one of the highlights of the academic year!

An exhibitor from University of Portsmouth’s Careers and Employability service talks with recent graduate Nia Picton-Phillips at the 2019 Heritage, Arts and Culture Careers Fair

–          A forthcoming session at a Children’s History Society Workshop, which explores how to engage children with historical research at museums and heritage sites. To sign up, book here.

–          Discussions about the development of the Mary Rose Digital Archive

–          The integration of objects from the Mary Rose collection into specialist undergraduate teaching: as part of the new Second Year Module, ‘The Extraordinary and the Everyday: People, Places and Possessions’ students will be offered the opportunity to visit the Museum and conduct research on their artefacts

–          On the research front, we are also excited to now be working with both the Museum and colleagues in the Science Faculty at Portsmouth, considering how evidence from DNA analysis can help us to discover more about the crew of the Mary Rose, and to revisit older assumptions about the population of early modern England (for more info click here). Katy and Maria, alongside Dr Garry Scarlett and Dr Sam Robson in the School of Biological Sciences, are part of a cross-disciplinary project, funded by the University, to develop this work further.

Watch this space for future developments on these and other projects!

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