Maritime treasures looking shipshape ahead of reopening of Marlipins Museum in Shoreham

Marlipins Museum in Shoreham, one of the oldest secular buildings in the country, is set to reopen to the public.

Visitors to the museum will be able to explore maritime treasures and more for free until the end of October.

The doors of the distinctive Norman building in High Street have been closed for much of the past two years, due to the Covid pandemic, but they will open again on Thursday, May 5, and the museum will be available for anyone to visit every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11am to 3pm until the autumn.

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After many weeks of work by the Sussex Archaeological Society, the unique collections and maritime treasures are looking shipshape.

Interior of Marlipins Museum with a ship figurehead

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Emma O’Connor, museums officer, said: “We’re delighted to be reopening the Marlipins Museum to visitors once again. After being shut for most of the past two years, it will be fantastic to see people enjoying the space and interacting with the collections and curiosities inside.

“It’s one of the oldest secular buildings still standing in the country and there’s lots to see inside, from the strange and macabre surgical instruments to shipwreck souvenirs and amazing examples of ship modelling.

“We want to thank the volunteers from the Friends of Marlipins who have helped us prepare for reopening and allow us to share this wonderful space with the wider public.”

Artefacts in Marlipins Museum relating to flying

The Grade II listed building, famous for its striking flint and limestone chequerboard façade, dates back to the 12th century.

It is understood that it was used as a toll or custom house for the port and markets, providing secure storage for high end goods such as wines, spices and fabrics.

Now it is home to a unique collection which sheds light on the area’s rich maritime history, with objects collected from shipwrecks off the coast of Sussex and further afield.

On display are naval surgeons’ sinister-looking medical instruments to incredible examples of 19th century ship models.

Marlipins Museum in High Street, Shoreham

There are also souvenirs from the HMS Royal George, the largest warship in the world at the time of her launch in 1756, which sank off Portsmouth the same year.

This year will also see a new temporary exhibition of maritime paintings featuring many ships which have links to Sussex.