Naval museums close as Coronavirus precaution

All of the Royal Navy’s official museums are closed from today until further notice.

The National Museum of the Royal Navy – the umbrella organisation which oversees sites in Portsmouth, Gosport, Belfast, Yeovilton and Hartlepool – has reluctantly shut its doors in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Although there have been no diagnosed cases of the virus on any museum site, bosses have decided the time is right to close to protect both staff and visitors.

It means Portsmouth Historic Dockyard – including HMS Victory, WW1 monitor HMS M33, ironclad HMS Warrior and the National Museum of the Royal Navy – and the RN Submarine Museum and Explosion! across the water in Gosport are closed.

Following suit are 19th Century frigate HMS Trincomalee in Hartlepool, Jutland survivor HMS Caroline in Belfast and the FAA Museum in Yeovilton.

Continued support no matter how large or small does make a difference

Prof Dominic Tweddle

With ticket sales a huge slice of the funding to maintain the museums and their historic artefacts/ships, and the imminent 2020 tourist season likely to take a massive hit from the response to the disease, museum chiefs are asking for donations to help plug the gap.

“While we move to make as many cost savings as possible to help ease the challenges ahead, a large majority of daily costs do remain – it is our responsibility to maintain and care for our historic collections,” said Prof Dominic Tweddle.

“Continued support no matter how large or small does make a difference.”

Donations can be made here. If you’ve already bought tickets for any of the museum sites, they remain valid and can be deferred until later in the year. More details are available at The National Museum Royal Navy's webpage