Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Plastics Spotting – in the most unexpected places

On a recent lovely, sunny Saturday, I took my family to visit Explosion! Museum of Naval Firepower in Gosport. I duly brought along my camera to do some plastics spotting, not knowing what I might find, and actually ended up bringing some home with me!

Can you guess what this is?

It is the nose cone from an artillery shell. The museum gift shop were selling a variety of Bakelite souvenirs – little shell relics that had been recovered from the former armaments depot of Priddy's Hard. I would never have guessed that plastics have been used in this way so I thought I would buy a piece and bring it into MoDiP to see if my colleagues had ever seen anything like it before. 

It turns out they had because we actually already have two in our collection - PHSL: 14 and PHSL: 122! I have been working at MoDiP for six months now and am constantly amazed at the variety and breadth of the objects in our care - there is still so much for me to learn!
Getting back to the visit…

We spent an entertaining afternoon walking round the exhibits, learning about the development of naval warfare. My favourite part was The Locker Room where each locker contains an object with an accompanying information panel or oral history sound recording that tells a personal story. For example, did you know that some of the Priddy’s Hard workers would suck nitro-glycerine to avoid conscription in WWII? Apparently it raises the blood pressure! 

Photo courtesy of Explosion - Museum of Naval Firepower © 2013

My children thoroughly enjoyed the interactives, especially experiencing the sensation of being on a moving ship, and spent some considerable time dressing up as the Home Guard, pirates and laboratory workers. 

Afterwards we went for a long walk along the harbour, admiring the stunning views, marvelling at the size of the ships and trying to spot HMS Victory in the distance. It was a really good day out and I would recommend you visit.

Katherine Pell (MoDiP Administrator)

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