Attractions industry news

26 Sep 2017

HLF grants £4.7m to restore original D-Day landing craft

The D-Day Museum in Portsmouth, UK, has secured £4.7m (US$6.3m, €5.3m) from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a complete restoration of an original Landing Craft Tank used during Operation Overlord in 1944.

The Landing Craft Tank – decommissioned in 1948 – is one of only 10 survivors from the fleet of more than 7,000 ships and craft used during the D-Day landing. It will become the focal point of a new exhibition, with the funds being used to offer a much more in-depth narrative on the events that took place on 6 June 1944, looking specifically at the Royal Navy and how its crews coped on that day.

As part of the work, the Landing Craft itself will be completely taken apart and reassembled so it can be properly catalogued. Conservation work will also be done to its hull, superstructure and interior spaces, which will then be home to the museum’s two tanks. Work will be carried out by a team of conservation experts, supported by 40 volunteers and two apprentices. The craft was acquired by the National Museum of the Royal Navy in 2014 thanks to a £916,000 (US$1.2m, €1m) donation from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

“We are incredibly grateful to The National Lottery for its support in securing a sustainable future for this exceptional survivor, completing the conservation that began with salvage in 2014, and showcasing her outside and alongside the new D-Day Museum, our project partner,” said Nick Hewitt, head of Exhibitions and Collections at The National Museum of the Royal Navy.

“This puts the craft in the city’s heart, engaging a potential 4.5 million annual users of Southsea Common with the story of the ship and her people; it puts her D-Day story – which uniquely links sea and land – in context for museum visitors and ensures she survives for future generations.”

In January last year the D-Day Museum secured £4m (US$5.7m, €5.25m) in HLF funding to finance a full refurbishment ahead of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landing in 2019. Scheduled to reopen in 2018, a number of community activities, including community roadshows and pop-up museums, will happen during the redevelopment and restoration period.

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