Explosion - Museum of Naval Firepower - A 21st Century Museum
Video Tour of the Museum
Explosion! is an award winning museum of naval warfare created within 18th century buildings at the Royal Navy's former armaments depot of Priddy's Hard, in Gosport, Hampshire.
The museum is housed in a group of listed buildings which centre around the original powder magazine of 1771. These sit on the edge of a delightful camber basin on the western shore of Portsmouth Harbour, with views across to Portchester Castle, Whale Island and the Naval Base. Explosion! traces the development of naval armaments from gunpowder to the Exocet missile...but the museum is not just about big bangs!
The displays explore the 18th century origins of Priddy's Hard, its historic buildings and earthworks, bringing alive the site's rich history. There's a fascinating social history too, including the story of how 2,500 women worked on the site during its peak in World War II. It describes the role that Priddy's Hard played in naval operations worldwide for over 200 years, as well as its importance to the local Gosport community, which not only armed the Navy but also fed and watered it.
Nor are the human, social and moral consequences of warfare forgotten - visitors will be provoked as well as educated and entertained.
The museum's extensive and unique collection was mostly assembled by superintendents of the former Naval Armaments Depot at Priddy's Hard. If it hadn't been for their foresight, a large slice of naval history would have been lost. Thanks to their efforts the museum boasts an extensive collection which includes small arms, cannon and guns, shells and munitions, mines, torpedoes and modern missiles. There's even an atom bomb, whose ominous hulk meets visitors on arrival.
But alongside the hardware, Explosion! tells a human story - of the designers, makers, seamen and thousands of female munitions workers who worked with these armaments over the centuries. From the beginning of exhibition, where a simulated locker room reveals Priddy's Hard through the eyes of those who worked there, visitors experience a real sense of the lives which this amazing story has touched.
Throughout the exhibition, the exhibits are brought to life with dramatic audio-visual effects and scene-setting, computer interactives and hands-on displays. Explosion! is a modern museum providing a complete visitor experience with a full range of facilities and access for all visitors. There is a gift shop books and souvenirs and a coffee shop with magnificent views of Portsmouth Harbour.