05 Nov 2019

Free entry to Museum of Island History

With Newport Visitor Information Centre moving to new premises at Newport Bus Station, the Isle of Wight Council’s Museum of Island History in the town's Guildhall is still open for visitors and planning an exciting new exhibition.

The visitor information centre is moving out of the Guildhall, and the extra space means there will be more room for displays and interactive school visits to the museum.

After a short refurbishment the council’s Heritage Service will re-open the Museum of Island History on Saturday 30 November with a free entry morning to celebrate the new exhibition ‘A Tale of Two Shipwrecks’.

Visitors can drop into the museum for free between 10am and 1pm.

There will be craft activities for families, hands-on items to explore and identification of archaeological artefacts by Frank Basford from the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

From Tuesday December 3 onwards the museum will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 1pm throughout the winter, with two weeks off at Christmas and the new year.

Admission to the museum will be reduced to just £1 for the winter period.

Curator Corina Westwood said: “We’ve enjoyed working with Visit Isle of Wight, and we hope the Newport Visitor Information Centre will be an even bigger success in its new home.

“The Museum of Island History is still very much a part of Newport’s visitor attraction, and throughout the winter we have a programme of activities and events as well as the great new exhibition featuring the extraordinary tales of HMS Pomone and the Yarmouth Roads wreck.

"There will be some rarely-seen artefacts on show, like the spectacular fitting to a Royal Navy Officer’s brass sword-belt.”

The new exhibition ‘A Tale of Two Shipwrecks’ explores two very different shipwrecks located off the Isle of Wight. Find out more about the loss of HMS Pomone which was wrecked off the Needles in 1811.

There are amazing artefacts on display which belonged to members of the ship’s crew and passengers including a pair of sugar tongs, part of a sextant, and a syringe from a doctor’s kit.
 
The loss of the Pomone is documented through extensive letters and diaries, which bring alive the events of the fateful night and provide an insight into the characters on board.

The exhibition will also tell the tale of the Yarmouth Roads Wreck; this mystery ship is thought to be a late 16th century Spanish merchant carrack.

This wreck is located just off Yarmouth Pier and is marked by a large yellow buoy.

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Royal Navy Officer’s brass sword-belt fitting
Royal Navy Officer’s brass sword-belt fitting
Factfile
  • HMS Pomone was wrecked off the Needles in 1811.
  • When she sank, HMS Pomone had the British ambassador to Persia on board, as well as some Arab stallions that the Shah of Persia had sent as a present to King George III.
 
Newport Isle of Wight