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Scapa Flow Museum partnership with National Museum of the Royal Navy will highlight unique naval heritage

Date: 26 May 2023

Scapa Flow Museum

Orkney Islands Council (OIC) and the National Museum of the Royal Navy have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to share experience and expertise in developing the awareness and understanding of naval heritage.

The announcement coincides with the news that Scapa Flow Museum, run by Orkney Islands Council, has been shortlisted in the prestigious Art Fund Museum of the Year 2023.

Professor Dominic Tweddle, Director General of The National Museum of the Royal Navy explained:

“Orkney has an incredibly rich and important Royal Navy heritage playing a vital role in both the First and Second World War. The recently redeveloped Scapa Flow Museum tells the story of the island’s military involvement in both, and highlights this fascinating, and sometimes little-known, history. We are excited to be working in collaboration to strengthen our ties, to share our experience and expertise, as seen recently with a week-long secondment by curator Ellen Pesci and to reach wider audiences about the internationally important collection and stories.

“The interpretation in the museum is beautifully conceived and executed, featuring fascinating displays and unique artefacts that pay testimony to Orkney’s distinctive place in the Royal Navy’s history. I was both excited and impressed at the museum and delighted that we have signed this agreement to further the interesting work we do.

“The museum’s place on the Art Fund Museum of the Year shortlist is very well deserved and it would be a very worthy winner.”

Chief Executive of Orkney Islands Council (OIC), Oliver Reid, said: “There are definite synergies between our two Museums, so we are excited to formalise this partnership which can only help amplify the extraordinary and internationally significant heritage both Museums hold.”

Chair of OIC’s Education, Leisure and Housing Committee, Councillor Gwenda Shearer also welcomed the partnership: “This formalises some fabulous collaborations in recent years between the Council and NMRN and is a measure of the both the significance of Orkney’s wartime heritage, and the great work of everyone involved Scapa Flow Museum. Together with its recent redevelopment, and this week’s shortlisting for Art Fund Museum of the Year, it has been an exciting period for the Museum and our community.”

The Council’s Culture Team Manager Nick Hewitt worked previously with the National Museum of the Royal Navy – he was part of the team at NMRN during national Jutland commemorations and oversaw the loan from Scapa Flow Museum of rare naval guns from HMS Opal and German destroyer B98 to the Portsmouth facility . “I know first hand how meangingful past collaborations between the two Museums have been and I look forward to many more to come.”

The Council’s Social History Curator, Ellen Pesci, spent a week in March this year working with the team at NMRN. Her visit was aimed at helping the team more fully understand collections management and development.

Ellen said: “We looked at the amazing work NMRN has done migrating from a series of old cataloguing systems into a modern platform opening up so many more possibilities for an international online audience, an audience and ambition we share.

"I also had the opportunity to view their stores, and some of the bespoke solutions they use to care for artefacts – something which will help prepare for potential future projects with our own collection stores.

“Fundamentally, the trip showed me that museums all share the same challenges, just on a different scale and that these challenges need not be insurmountable – but understanding the complexities and needs of collections is key to ensuring their long term viability and visibility.”

The National Museum of the Royal Navy represents the four fighting forces of the Royal Navy and its mission is to be the world’s most inspiring naval museum, linking navy to nation. It has museums in Portsmouth, Gosport, Hartlepool, Yeovilton and Belfast where HMS Caroline was shortlisted as Museum of the Year in 2019.

  • Summary:

    Orkney Islands Council (OIC) and the National Museum of the Royal Navy have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to share experience and expertise in developing the awareness and understanding of naval heritage.

  • Category:
    Arts, Museums and Heritage
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