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Performance, Learning & Heritage

Site 1: The National Maritime Museum

The National Maritime Museum (NMM) in Greenwich, London, holds the largest collection of British maritime exhibits anywhere in the world - over 2 million objects and texts. As well as displaying collections in 45 galleries, it has for some ten years run actor-interpreter programmes, usually single-person, ‘in character’ monologue presentations. Our case study examined four such presentations which had been designed to coincide with a major ‘Nelson & Napoleon’ exhibition. Our particular focus was on The Gunner’s Tale and The Pensioner’s Tale, but all four illustrated different aspects of what it was like to be alive at the time of the Battle of Trafalgar. The pieces were written by, or in close collaboration with, the actors bought-in from professional interpretation companies, and were presented in various locations in the museum.

The following data was collected as a result of the research weekend:

Gunner's Tale - 44

Waiting For Nelson - 27

Pensioner's Tale - 14

Midshipman's Tale - 10

Gunner's Tale x 3

Pensioner's Tale x 2

Analysis of this data is currently underway, and findings will be disseminated in the New Year (via website, seminars and later, through publication).

All images © National Maritime Museum London