New museum gives close-up view of Henry VIII's Mary Rose warship

Story highlights

  • The Mary Rose, flagship of Henry VIII, was raised from the seabed in 1982
  • Visitors will now be able to see the ship and thousands of objects found with her
  • The warship sank in 1545 while leading an attack on a French invasion fleet
  • The 500-year-old wreck is still undergoing conservation work

A Tudor warship sunk off the English coast more than 400 years ago will go on display in a new museum Friday, along with thousands of artifacts recovered with the wreck.

The Mary Rose, which is still undergoing conservation work, is the only 16th century warship on display in the world, according to the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

The 500-year-old vessel was the flagship of King Henry VIII and sank in his view off the south coast near Portsmouth on July 19, 1545, while leading an attack against a French invasion fleet.

It remained there until it was raised from the seabed in 1982 to great fanfare.

Over the decades since, the wooden hull has been sprayed continuously, first with fresh water to remove salt and then with a wax solution, to prevent the timbers drying out and shrinking.

That spray was turned off last month to allow the next phase of conservation to be carried out, the dockyard said.

While the ship is on display, it will be dried out in a specially constructed airtight glass chamber. More than 100 tons of water will be extracted from the hull over the next four to five years, conservationists say.

Once that process is complete, the walls will be removed to give visitors an unimpeded view of the ship.

The new Mary Rose Museum, built at the Portsmouth dockyard at a cost of £27 million ($40.7 million), also houses many of the 19,000 artifacts raised with the ship.

Items on display include the skeleton of the ship's dog, wooden bowls, leather shoes, musical instruments and combs complete with 500-year-old head lice, as well as weapons such as longbows and metal cannon.

Many of the ship's crew died when she went down.

The raising of the ship and its preservation were landmarks in marine archeology, the dockyard says.

      MainSail right rail

    • Wide shot of a sailboat from a drone

      Drones offer new angle on superyachts

      "Sometimes, I fly the drone with my head in a trash bag so I don't get salt spray from the sea on my equipment," says drone operator Justice L Bentz.
    • Dave Swete and Nick Dana on the bow of Alvimedica for a windy downwind sail change during the team's second trans-Atlantic training session, this time from Newport, Rhode Island, USA, to Southampton, England

      Disney duo's new 'fairytale story'

      Navigate the world's most treacherous seas, crossing 73,000 nautical kilometers in a confined space with stressed-out, sleep-deprived crewmates. 
    • The Triton Submarine.

      Millionaire water toys

      Personal submarines, jetpacks, even 'walking boats.'
      Why the Monaco Yacht Show is a bit like stumbling upon James Bond's secret gadget lab.
    • London's new superyacht hotel, in Royal Victoria Docks.

      Inside $67M superyacht hotel

      London's new superyacht hotel is so enormous, authorities had to lower the water level by five meters just to fit it under a bridge.
    • Thomson hurtles up to the top of the mast aware that the boat can keel at any moment and fling him either onto the deck or the water below

      What next for sailing's daredevil?

      His mast-walking stunts have attracted over 3.5 million hits on YouTube, but Alex Thomson just wants to get back to doing what he does best.
    • Endeavour, a 1934 J-Class yacht, racing during The America's Cup Anniversary Jubilee around The Isle of Wight 21 August 2001. The four entries in the J-Class category represent the oldest remaining class used in America's Cup competition. Over 200 boats, including vintage yachts are taking part in the America's Cup Jubilee to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the first America's Cup race in 1851. AFP PHOTO Adrian DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

      Through hell and high water

      Elizabeth Meyer talks to CNN's Mainsail about the "Armageddon battle" to restore the pioneering J-class boat Endeavour.
    • Specatators use a boat to watch as boat crews race on the River Thames at the Henley Royal Regatta on July 2, 2014 in Henley-on-Thames, England. Opening today and celebrating its 175th year, the Henley Royal Regatta is regarded as part of the English social season and is held annually over five days on the River Thames. Thousands of rowing fans are expected to come to watch races which are head-to-head knock out competitions, raced over a course of 1 mile, 550 yards (2,112 m) which regularly attracts international crews to race. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

      'Downton Abbey' on the water

      Like "Downton Abbey," Henley's Royal Regatta reminds its visitors of an England of old. But for how much longer?
    • LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 10: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge poses next to the America's Cup as she visits the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich for the Ben Ainslie America's Cup Launch on June 10, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

      Britain's $134M secret weapon?

      Can a $134 million budget and the royal seal of approval bring the coveted America's Cup back to British shores for the first time in sailing history?
    • Eyos Expeditions offers superyacht journeys to the most remote places on Earth.

      Yachting to the ends of the Earth

      Bored of lounging on your superyacht in the Mediterranean? An increasing number of millionaires are now sailing their luxury vessels to the ends of the Earth, to get their kicks.