Mary Rose Museum: Life on a 16th-century warship revealed

Story highlights

  • The Mary Rose sank July 19, 1545, in the English Channel during a battle with the French
  • Hundreds of recovered items tell the story of Tudor life at sea
  • The Mary Rose Museum opens May 31

Nit infestations, beer instead of water, a band for entertainment -- life on the Mary Rose, the flagship of King Henry VIII's fleet, which sank during battle in July 1545, wasn't all about crashing cannon fire and men being swept overboard, as novels and Hollywood like to depict.

The 16th-century warship sank on July 19, 1545, in the English Channel during a battle with the French.

Now, nearly 500 years later and 31 years after it was raised from the bottom of the English Channel, the ship will go on show in a museum in the same British dockyard where it was built.

Some 60 million people watched the Mary Rose emerge from the water on live television in 1982.

Today the secrets of life onboard can be seen in a new £27 million ($40 million) museum in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Other costs incurred in the salvage and conservation of the fragile ship take the total expenditure past £35 million.

The remains of the hull are displayed on one side, while hundreds of the objects found onboard are displayed opposite, organized by deck.

The museum tells the story of life onboard a 16th-century warship and is dedicated to the approximately 400 men who lost their lives on the ship.

The Mary Rose Museum opens on May 31. Tickets are available from and cost £17 ($26). An all-attraction ticket that also includes entry to the dockyard's other attractions is £26.