D-Day News

Exciting new pop up museum

Exciting new pop up museum

While the museum is closed, a pop-up museum will be participating in events throughout the city of Portsmouth. The pop-up museum is displayed within a marquee, and is filled with fun, family-friendly activities, including mystery artefacts and wooden tanks. There will also be an opportunity for visitors to record their own family memories of D-Day, and to learn more about the transformation of the museum itself.

The pop-up museum is appearing at a number of events over the summer:

Anniversary of D-Day (Outside the D-Day Museum) - Tuesday 6th June

Armed Forces Day (Castle Field, Southsea) - Sat 24th June

Portsmouth City Museum - 26th July.

Capturing the Spirit's event in Paulsgrove - Tuesday 1st August

Portsea Carnival (John Pounds Centre) - Saturday 12th August

Victorious Festival (Southsea Common) - Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th August

Fratton Family Festival (Fratton) - Sunday 17th September

Public Participation Officer Felicity Wood said: "We're really looking forward to taking the pop up museum on the road while our building is closed for the transformation. The interactive, family friendly activities really help us bring the story of D-Day to the people of Portsmouth." Join the D-Day Museum at the events above to learn more about the story of D-Day and those involved.

By : Museum Editor /05, Jun 2017 Read More

D-Day display opens at Portsmouth International Port

D-Day display opens at Portsmouth International Port

On Wednesday 25th May, the D-Day Museum opened a new exhibit at Portsmouth International Port. The pop-up display has been installed on the first floor of the main terminal. The port sees thousands of passengers every year, many of whom sail to and from the Normandy coastline which saw the landings on D-Day. The displays include a female factory worker, two soldiers camping in the forests north of Portsmouth, and a series of panels telling the story of D-Day. As the museum is currently closed to the public while undergoing its transformation, the pop-up displays provide a means of telling the story of D-Day.

John Jenkins, a 97-year-old D-Day veteran visited the port to open the new displays. He landed on Sword beach, and is a regular volunteer for the museum, winning Portsmouth Together's Volunteer of the Year award in 2016. John was kind enough to spend some time talking to students from Solent Junior School, answering their questions and telling them about his experiences during the war, on D-Day, and afterwards. He proved extremely popular with the children, who excitedly announced that meeting John was one of their favourite parts of the morning - and asked if they could take him back to school! The children joined him for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, announcing the opening of the new display.

Prior to meeting John, the children had taken part in a session with Public Participation Officer Felicity Wood, where they learned about D-Day and the events surrounding it. This included a chance to try on uniforms similar to those worn by an Air Raid Warden, a messenger, and a member of the Women's Land Army. 

By : Museum Editor /31, May 2017 Read More

Moving our historic vehicles

Moving our historic vehicles

In May 2017, three vehicles were moved out of the D-Day Museum and into storage. The vehicles will be held offsite during the Transforming the D-Day Museum project, until the renovated museum is ready to welcome them back. With some expert help from Railway Support Services, the vehicles were successfully removed from the D-Day Museum and transported to storage. Railway Support Services are specialists in moving large vehicles such as derailed trains, and therefore had the perfect expertise to move these historic vehicles.

The first to go was 'Vera', the converted Sherman tank. Vera is a Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle, also known as a BARV. Around sixty BARVs were used during the Normandy invasions, including Vera. These were Sherman M482 tanks, which were waterproofed and had a tall, armoured structure in place of the turret. Vera would have been able to operate in up to nine feet of water, moving vehicles which were broken-down or blocking access to the beaches. Since neither of the vehicles can be driven, they had to be carefully towed out of the museum and onto flatbed trucks. Vera was pulled out of the museum, and loaded onto the truck waiting in the car park, before being driven away from the museum and into storage. It was a clear, sunny day, and Vera looked very impressive being led out of the car park and through Portsmouth.

The next day, the DUKW, also known as 'Duck', left the museum. Duck was an amphibious vehicle, mainly used to carry supplies to shore or to transport wounded men away from combat. Museum staff had already cleared away the shingle beneath the vehicles, clearing a path for them to exit the museum via the large back doors. Unfortunately, it was a wet and windy day, however the moving team still managed to expertly manoeuvre the DUKW onto the waiting truck, and secure it for transport.

The last to leave the museum was the huge landing craft, which had been at the D-Day Museum for over twenty years. L247 was one of the landing crafts used during the D-Day Landings, later becoming a houseboat, before coming to the museum and going on display. This was a mammoth task for Railway Support Services, who custom-built a steel frame to move the landing craft. After several hours of effort, L247 was successfully taken out of the museum, and driven away for secure storage until reinstallation.

Now that the vehicle shed has been emptied, work will begin to refurbish the interior of the museum and rearrange the layout, in preparation for the newly-designed displays to be installed. James Daly, Collections Researcher at the D-Day Museum said: "The vehicles in the D-Day Museum's collections play an important role in telling the story of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. They will be a key part of our new displays, and will be exhibited along with other objects that explain their part in the story. They will be made accessible to visitors in new and exciting ways and we are really looking forward to welcoming them back and re-installing them". The transformed D-Day Museum will reopen, complete with these vehicles, in Spring 2018.

By : Museum Editor /22, May 2017 Read More

Conserving the Overlord Embroidery

Conserving the Overlord Embroidery

The Overlord Embroidery, arguably the D-Day Museum's most famous exhibit, has left the museum ahead of the museum's exciting transformation The Overlord Embroidery is 272 feet long, and has 34 panels - even longer than the Bayeux Tapestry. It tells the story of Operation Overlord; the codename used for the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944.  It covers the entire period, beginning with panels depicting the Blitz, and ending with the German retreat. It was commissioned in 1968 by Lord Dulverton, and took twenty embroiderers from the Royal School of Needlework five years to create. It has been displayed in the D-Day Museum for over thirty years, but has now been carefully removed from the museum and taken to a secure location for conservation and storage.

Sarah Howard, a freelance conservator who was part of the work to move the embroidery, said it is "a real privilege" to be working so closely with the piece. It will be painstakingly cleaned and examined, and any necessary repairs will be carried out - for example, in some areas the netting over the top of the embroidery has come loose, and will be carefully resewn, using thread which has been colour matched to the original. Thanks to its careful display in the museum over three decades, and the care taken to ensure its preservation, the Overlord Embroidery is in good condition and will remain this way while the museum is closed.

During the renovation of the D-Day Museum, the Overlord Embroidery will be stored in environmentally secure conditions, with regular monitoring to ensure the material is well-preserved, ahead of its reinstallation in the museum. Jonathan Tetley, the conservation restorer who helped to remove the embroidery and place the panels into protective cases, marvelled at the condition of the material and its importance, saying "I wouldn’t be surprised if it did become a national treasure… if it hasn't already".

The Overlord Embroidery will return to the D-Day Museum and will be reinstalled ahead of its reopening in 2018, when it will once more be on display to the public. 

By : Museum Editor /22, May 2017 Read More

Transformation of the D-Day Museum

Transformation of the D-Day Museum

The D-Day Museum is now closed to the public and is undergoing a complete transformation. The work is part of the £4.9 million 'Transforming the D-Day Museum' project, enabled by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The museum will remained closed until Spring 2018, when it will reopen, debuting totally new displays about the story of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy.

The museum itself will reopen in spring 2018. The new, improved galleries will use artefacts, and interactive material to tell the story of D-Day, showing different perspectives on the day itself, and the Battle of Normandy, including the experiences of allied countries such as the USA and Canada, the French civilians, and the German soldiers. It will also give an insight into the preparations and aftermath of the conflict. The museum will display significant, previously-unseen items, and include loans from national museums. Stories and memories from D-Day veterans working with the museum have been collected over the years, and will contribute to the new design. 

By : Museum Editor /13, Mar 2017 Read More