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World of Warships Case Study

Reaching a truly global audience and being part of a live 17-hour online showcase of naval museums, were just two of the benefits for the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) when it signed up to be part of the World of Warships Longest Night of Museums.

NMRN joined 15 different institutions from around the globe, from Australia to Hawaii, passing through East Asia, Europe and the Americas, in an ambitious online event that reached (at point of broadcast) 1.4m on the official World of Warships Twitch and YouTube channels. Twitch is a live streaming platform for gamers.

Longest Night of Museums originated in Germany, but is similar to the UK’s Museums at Night annual event where museums keep their doors open to the public well into the night. Current restrictions necessitated a more creative approach to this year’s event and NMRN took the opportunity to dip its toe into the event.

Stephen Roberts-Pratt, Donor and Member Engagement Fundraiser for the National Museum explained: “World of Warships has a huge, often really informed audience, including young people and academics. As an authoritative voice of naval history, we wanted to be part of the event.

“We also wanted a platform to test run our new digital donation platform, GoDonate.

Head of Collections and Research at NMRN, Nick Hewitt presented from First World War survivor HMS M.33 in a 45-minute-long walk through and Q and A session live streamed from Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, where the ship is dry docked.

M33 was chosen because of her First World War provenance and a certain First-Rate ship of the line, HMS Victory, and the Mary Rose Museum, which houses the wreck of the Tudor warship - were in the background – making an enviable timeline for the broadcast.

Stephen continues: “The technology proved to be super easy, although we had been anxious beforehand. The live stream was done through my mobile phone, which I had mounted on a “selfie” stick type boom and we signed in via Zoom.

Nick used Bluetooth earphones which really helped with the windy conditions too. We did have to keep above deck because we were nervous the signal would cut out but next time we will use the site’s wifi rather than cellular.

“I had plenty of spare equipment to hand in case of any problems, but didn’t need to use them. The type of questions we were receiving were really good and put Nick through his paces!

“My overall advice would be “do it!” It was much easier than I expected.”

Next steps for the museum team include assessing levels of donations and engagement and considering the use of Twitch/YouTube gaming platforms on site as part of the visitor experience, for building audiences and getting that all essential message to come and visit the museum in person.

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