The Sammy Ofer Wing at the National Maritime Museum Opened this week “Undoubtedly the world’s Greatest maritime museum” is a Bold claim, but one that Last Word is prepared to back when it Comes to the National Maritime Museum in London’s soon to be ‘Royal’ borough of Greenwich. As chairman of the museum’s trustees and the driving force behind the museum’s brand new Sammy Ofer Wing which opened this week, Lord Sterling is perhaps a somewhat biased Judge of the museum’s ranking, but we think that any objective assessment of the £36.5 million project would have to concur with his claim to the top spot.The impressive new space, which was made possible thanks to the generous donation of £20m from Israeli shipping magnate Sammy Ofer who sadly died at the beginning of June, Marks the beginning of a new era for the museum. In addition to a state of the art facility for the museum’s research archive, the new wing provides a custom-built special exhibitions Gallery which is set to play host to a rolling programme of events and shows. It also boasts a new café, brasserie, library, lounge area and significantly increased space for the Museum’s vast collection of exhibits.“It generates a profound transformation in our public engagement and opens up new horizons and fresh vistas,” Lord Sterling told assembled dignitaries at the opening ceremony.
Friends in high places
The museum opening was ably assisted by long-term supporter and trustee of the museum the Duke of Edinburgh who came with a message from home. It seems that the royal House was so impressed with the museum and its associated site that include the Royal Observatory and the Queen’s House that from next year Her Majesty the Queen has granted Permission to use a collective name for the site – Royal Museums Greenwich. The new name comes just in time for the museum’s 75th anniversary next year.
Sammy Ofer remembered
While the opening ceremony was a celebration of three years hard work for the museum’s staff and supporters, the event was also tinged with sadness given the recent death of Sammy Ofer. His memory will live on through the museum, however his two sons Eyal and Idan have both taken a huge interest in the museum and were on hand at the ceremony to Talk about the man of the moment.“My father’s connections to Britain and his love for the maritime industry led him to see this project as a great testament to the heritage and contribution Britain has had on maritime Trade and exploration globally,” Eyal told Lloyd’s List.According to Idan his father would have been extremely proud of the new wing that now bears his name.“Even over the last couple of years when his advanced age slowed him down, my father followed this project very closely and showed great interest in each stage of its Development,” he said.
Visit the National Maritime Museum
The first headline exhibition, High Arctic, will be on at the National Maritime Museum until 31st January 2012. A full museum brochure is available to download here or visit nmm.ac.ukReprinted from Lloyd’s List